There is a fairly new but rapidly growing danger on the roadways of North Carolina and the rest of the nation. It is called distracted driving, a phenomenon caused by the lightning-fast changes in technology that have brought us the tiny but powerful mobile phone and a host of other digital miracles. These wondrous inventions have not only opened the doors to a world of all possibilities, but their inappropriate use is also responsible for a substantial percentage of deaths and serious injuries from auto accidents in recent years.
In olden days, fiddling with one’s radio while trying to drive was a big enough cause of death and injury; however, the threat is much more ominous when texting, viewing, searching, and surfing are put into the mix. It is reported that about nine people die each day in the United States from this new texting threat to highway safety. About one-third of drivers surveyed admitted to reading or texting messages while trying to drive.
In addition, statistics indicate that there were 341,000 car accidents involving texting in 2013, a figure that is likely higher by this time. Further, the threat is just as potent on our inner city roads as it is on the open interstates or expressways. In North Carolina, traffic enforcement regulations are lagging behind many other states with the main prohibition here being that minors cannot use hand-held phones while driving.
North Carolina is therefore likely to see a free-wheeling, widespread growth of distracted driving until the legislature passes some laws with teeth. Even with laws, however, some states report difficulties in enforcement due to stealthy driver maneuvers and the inability of police to easily spot violators. The real heartache comes when innocent victims are struck down in auto accidents caused by this trend. Victims may be called upon to assist in prosecuting violators where appropriate. In addition, distracted driving means negligence and more, and one should demand that monetary compensation be paid by the at-fault party to at least alleviate the economic burden that innocent persons must suffer.
Source: greensboro.com, “Distracted: Attentive driving is up to individuals“, David Noer, Feb. 14, 2016