You’ve all seen it. The car is swerving ahead of you. The car is drifting into your lane—the car slamming on the brakes at the last minute to avoid the line of stopped traffic. When you pass by, if you are lucky enough to get by them safely, you see the driver’s head looking straight down at their cell phone, actively scrolling their social media or text messages, and ignoring the rest of us on the road. Not a care in the world except to be intently focused on the latest happenings on social media.
The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that only about 3% of drivers use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. I, for one, do not believe this for a minute. There is not a day that goes by where I do not see multiple people drifting from their lanes and fully absorbed in their cell phones while driving. Each day seems to be worse than the previous day. People are addicted to their Fakebook (you know people are lying about their perfect seeming lives on Facebook, right?) or Instagram accounts.
Cell phone use while driving is dangerous and is considered distracted driving. Distracted driving accounted for 3,166 deaths in 2017 and would appear to be on the rise as we all witness more and more distracted drivers in our daily commutes. We often perceive distracted driving to be centered around using a cell phone while driving. Still, it can also include eating, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, or fumbling for other control devices on your dashboard.
In 2017, 599 non-occupants were killed in distracted driving crashes, typically unsuspecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and others just minding their own business.
Younger drivers tend to be distracted at a higher rate as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 8% of young drivers involved in fatal crashes are distracted drivers. However, don’t be fooled. Yesterday I saw a mother with an infant baby in a car seat busily scrolling through her phone only to have her slam on the brakes to avoid cars stopped for a stoplight. She wasn’t paying attention. Even her precious newborn cargo was not enough to break her cell phone addiction so that she and her baby could arrive safely at her destination.
There are currently 16 states with cell phone bans while driving. North Carolina attempted to join the list of states where cell phones are restricted while driving, but the measure failed in the 2019 session. The Hands Free NC Act, House Bill 144, passed the House in a watered-down version that would have made it a violation if cell phone use resulted in careless or reckless driving. However, the bill did not survive the NC Senate, and its sponsors will try again in the 2020 session.
If you have been injured as a result of a distracted driver, then you will want to call the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor at 1-800-351-3008 and speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your rights. The distracted drivers do not seem to care about you, but we do. Call us and put our knowledge, skill, and experience to work for you, and let’s work together to put an end to distracted driving so that we can all arrive home safely.