Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

Distracted driving in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers should be aware of a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which points to distracted driving as the second-highest cause of preventable car accidents in the nation, overshadowed only by impaired or drunk driving. According to the report, about nine people are killed and 1,153 injured on a daily basis in accidents caused by distracted drivers. The report includes texting and cellphone use, eating while driving and even reading behind the wheel.

While distracted driving-related deaths in 2012 went down slightly, injuries stemming from car accidents reportedly increased by 9 percent. According to the CDC, texting is the single most dangerous distracted driving practice because it takes the driver's hands off the wheel and the driver's eyes and attention off the road. About 31 percent of all U.S. drivers admitted to having sent or read a text behind the wheel in a single 30-day period.

The U.S. leads the world in cellphone usage and texting behind the wheel, according to a comparison the CDC made between American and Western European driving habits. About 69 percent of U.S. drivers admitted to talking on a cellphone while driving, compared with 21 percent in the UK and 59 percent in Portugal. The U.S. is tied with Portugal in prevalence of texting behind the wheel.

In the aftermath of a North Carolina fatal accident, an attorney might first consider on-scene reports from first responders and the results of the police investigation. A demand for compensation might be issued which includes lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering and catastrophic injury consideration. If a fair settlement cannot be reached between the driver and the injured parties, the case may go to open trial for disposition.

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