The hysteria surrounding the dangers of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving has taken the focus off the many other forms of distracted driving, USA Today reports.
Many forms of distracted driving can lead to a North Carolina car accident, including eating while driving, grooming, shaving or applying makeup, talking to passengers, drinking or smoking, traveling with a pet, using GPS, car stereos or other in-car electronics, and even exterior scenic distractions. Those promoting the use of hands-free devices may also be misrepresenting their safety. The National Safety Council reported earlier this year that hands-free phones are not safer than hand-held devices, despite the fact that they are frequently misrepresented as a safer alternative.
“I don’t think we’ve made nearly as much progress in those other areas of distracted driving,” Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told the USA Today.
In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recently taken the U.S. Department of Transportation to task for what it says is an overemphasis on the dangers of text messaging.
“The hypervisibility of these issues diverts attention from initiatives that have far greater potential to save lives,” IIHS President Adrian Lund said. “We need to look for the next big idea like airbags and get it done. There is nothing rational about the way we set highway safety priorities.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that about 5,000 people a year are killed and 500,000 are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. Only drunk driving and speeding are blamed for more deaths.
The article highlights an incident witnessed by Lee Luckabaugh, a Pennsylvania resident who said he was driving I-95 through North Carolina when he spotted an SUV driver going 70 mph while reading a book and talking on his cell phone.
Greg Zaffke’s mother was killed by a woman who was painting her nails. He founded the Black Nail Brigade, a non-profit foundation dedicated to spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving,
“The attention is 99.9% on cellphones and texting and very, very little has been done about the non-technological distractions,” says Zaffke, 32. “There’s a lot more out there than cellphones and texting.”
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Representing all of South and North Carolina, including Hendersonville, Hickory, Lenoir and Lincolnton.