All across the country, teenagers look forward to summer break and a respite from the daily grind of school, homework and extracurricular activities. While it's tempting to hand the keys over to your teenager and enjoy getting a break from playing chauffeur, it's also important to understand the risks.
It is no secret that distracted driving has become a major concern in North Carolina and across the country. According to statistics compiled by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in the years between 2008 and 2013 there have been approximately 50,000 crashes each year in the state caused by distracted driving with approximately 28,000 injuries occurring for the same reason, and at least 140 fatalities has resulted from distracted driving in each of these years. Crashes and injuries are happening in the state three to four times more often due to distracted driving than due to alcohol use.
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.
The incidents of death and injury resulting from distracted driving have reached substantial levels in the United States. The recent increase in popularity of cellphones and other mobile devices has allegedly been responsible for a marked increase in loss of life and accident injuries. The Federal Communications Commission has created the FCC Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse for sharing and collecting information for the purpose of advancing technology to help reduce the problem.
According to a public opinion poll, many believe that hands-free technology in vehicles is safer to use while driving than handheld cellphones. However, North Carolina resident may not know that several studies show that this is not the case.
According to a recent study, pedestrians and bicyclists in North Carolina and around the U.S. were getting killed at a 50 percent higher rate than before the use of cellphones and other digital devices became common. From the years 2005 to 2010, fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists jumped as the amount of potential distraction to driving increased. Some researchers said the growth of such distracted driving was a public health threat. A researcher from University of Nebraska Medical Center said that it may be very difficult to rein in now.
A North Carolina man was pronounced dead this week after distraction from his cell phone caused him to rear end a semi truck, ending in a three-vehicle accident. Though the accident occurred in Wyoming, the story is a sobering reminder to North Carolina drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.