Distracted driving continues to harm motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and families in Fayetteville and throughout the entire country. While many distracted driving accidents are the result of texting while driving, a new and equally dangerous practice is on the rise: webbing.
Texting while driving is a serious problem in North Carolina and across the nation and teens at East Forsythe High School are leading the cause to reduce teen driving fatalities due to texting and driving. North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue recently declared a "No Texting While Driving Pledge Day" in conjunction with AT&Ts "It Can Wait" campaign. At least 1,600 students and staff from the high school signed pledges stating they would not text while driving. The pledge drive consisted of an online form or a hard copy document that could be signed by students and faculty.
Statistics and research has shown that driver safety education programs and experience on the road are important factors in preventing accidents and preventing dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving.
Texting while driving and even talking on a cellphone while stuck in traffic can be dangerous distractions for Fayetteville drivers. When drivers become distracted, they might not notice a red light, a stop sign, a pedestrian crossing the street or a bicyclist alongside them. These are serious mistakes that can result in deadly consequences. But these are also mistakes that can and should be avoided.
Federal transportation safety officials have been pushing for all 50 states to ban folks from using their cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. Distracted driving continues to be a common factor in many serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents on our country's roads. Transportation officials believe that current state laws, including distracted driving laws in North Carolina, could be improved to make our roads a safer place.
Within the last couple of years, traffic safety advocates have focused a great deal of attention on ways to reduce texting while driving in North Carolina and throughout the entire country. Many studies have shown that distracted driving can actually be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and results in far too many car accidents. Such accidents claim thousands of lives each year. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving contributes to about 950,000 minor and serious car accidents per year.
During a six-month period, researchers from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center gathered more than 24,000 video clips of teen drivers from 50 different families in our state. These recordings of drivers were only taken when video systems installed in the families' vehicles detected certain events that could have been caused by distracted driving such as making an abrupt turn or braking quickly. The video clips of young drivers were only recorded when they did not have an adult supervising their driving.
Earlier this year on our Fayetteville personal injury law blog, we mentioned the results of a national study that had been released indicating that teen deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents were on the rise in the U.S. during 2011.
Last month on our Fayetteville personal injury law blog, we discussed a fatal car accident that the North Carolina Highway Patrol speculated was a result of distracted driving. We have also previously discussed the concerns of lawmakers across the U.S. who believe distracted driving can be especially dangerous. Like drunk drivers, drivers who text or talk on their cell phones are more likely to make mistakes that attentive drivers do not typically make.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported that distracted driving may have been a factor in a recent car accident that left one dead on Dec. 29. Although the investigation has been closed since the driver who caused the crash accounted for the only fatality, troopers are warning all motorists that distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.