Distracted driving a primary cause of North Carolina car accidents

Our North Carolina accident attorneys are encouraging motorists to drive defensively as part of our new year’s resolution to be better drivers in 2011. Our second in a series of 7 articles will focus on the dangers of distracted driving.

Other topics found in the Carolina 2011 resolutions series are speeding, red light running through intersections, inclement weather, aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published 2009 data on distracted driving accidents. There were a total of 448,000 injuries and 5,474 fatalities in distraction-related motor vehicle crashes in 2009.

Cell phone use is believed to have been the distraction causing 995 (18%) of total fatalities.

The under-20 age group of drivers accounted for the biggest percentage of reported distracted driving fatalities at 16%. However, the 30-39 year-old age group had the most reported cell phone use distraction in fatal crashes in 2009 according to the NHTSA.

Rule #18: Avoid distractions found on Road Trip America’s 70 Rules of Defensive Driving is an important but highly attainable one.

It’s estimated that your vehicle covers 1.47 feet per second for every mile per hour speed you drive. In most highway driving situations, drivers cover close to 90 feet for every second they get distracted. In a world where multi-tasking is commonplace, performing more than the single task of driving while in a vehicle can be deadly. Drivers need to realize the importance of identifying distractions and make conscious decisions to avoid them.

Distraction.gov reports that North Carolina law considers cell phone use a primary offense — meaning an officer can ticket a driver, when witnessing cell-phone use, without needing another reason to pull the vehicle over. North Carolina bans hand-held or hands-free cell phone use for bus drivers and drivers under the age of 18. Texting is also considered a primary offense and is banned for all drivers in the state.

Safety First offers the following tips to maintain focus while driving:

-Have an ideal escape plan if a dangerous situation suddenly appears in front of your vehicle while driving – distracted drivers usually end up in rear end collisions because they don’t have a plan in place while they are unfocused.

-Maintain both hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road at all times.

-Avoid having conversations or looking at other passengers in the car with you.

-Appropriate rest and a balanced diet can provide you with optimal driving reaction time when avoidable distractions get in the way.

Driving without distraction is probably one of the most difficult goals to strive for in 2011.

Drivers should maintain a commitment to avoid distractions while driving to the best of their abilities in order to keep Carolina roadways safer.

Serving North and South Carolina, the law offices of Lee & Smith want to advise you of your rights if you have been in a serious car accident. Call to make an appointment for a free initial consultation at 1-800-887-1965.

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