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Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving in North Carolina

Distracted driving has been a problem on the roads long before the dawn of texting. It has, however, increased with the rising use of cell phones for navigation, entertainment and, of course, phone calls and texting. The majority of states have outlawed texting while driving, but many continue to multitask behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as any activity that diverts attention from driving—from texting to eating to adjusting the radio. Distracted driving is not only a hazard to the person driving, their passengers and their fellow motorists, but also to pedestrians and motorcyclists. It only takes a second of taking your eyes off the road for disaster to strike.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in distracted driving accidents every day in the U.S.1 In 2016, 3,450 people were killed in distracted driving accidents.2

In the state of North Carolina, composing, reading and sending texts or emails is banned for all drivers while the vehicle is in motion. For novice drivers (those under 18), it is also illegal to talk on the phone while driving. This means all phone use is prohibited on the road for drivers under the age of 18. The same rule applies to bus drivers. Drivers in North Carolina can, however, use a GPS and other voice-activated devices while driving. The only time it is legal to use your phone in the car is when the vehicle is stopped or parked.

While many drivers may view themselves as capable multitaskers, psychologists have discovered a dangerous phenomena on the road called “inattentional blindness.” Research shows that “people often fail to detect change in their visual field, as long as the change occurs during an eye movement or when people's view is otherwise interrupted,” according to the American Psychological Association.3

So while you focus on sending a text or talking to someone on the phone, your brain does not process everything that your eyes witness on the road, even if an obstacle is in plain view. This is why objects, deer or other cars come “from out of nowhere” and cause accidents.

The easiest way to prevent inattentional blindness and distracted driving? Put down the phone. Set your phone to silent before you hit the road so you’re not tempted to check notifications. Queue up your playlist before putting the key in the ignition. Finish your snack prior to getting behind the wheel. Simply by planning ahead, you can avoid accidents and distracted driving, and possibly save a life.

If the unthinkable happens and you are injured in an accident, contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood to speak to a personal injury lawyer.

 

1: https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

2: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/usdot-releases-2016-fatal-traffic-crash-data

3: http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/blindness.aspx

This entry was posted in Car Safety, General, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury.
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