North Carolina Traffic Safety: Uncovering Distraction Not Unusual in Accident Investigations

“I’m going to crash!” were the last words Kelsey Raffaele ever said. She was talking on a cell phone while driving when she clipped a snow bank, spin out of control and right into the path of oncoming traffic. An SUV T-boned her vehicle. She later died at the hospital, according to the Citizen-Times.
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Local police simply chalked up the accident as a mistake that’s commonly made by newly-licensed drivers. Later, they found out that she was on the phone when the accident happened. They credited the accident to distracted driving after finding her cell phone in the back of the car. Distracted driving is unfortunately also a common cause for novice driver accidents.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that the paperwork was already filed when officials discovered that it was a distracted driving car accident. Because these accidents aren’t oftentimes discovered in a timely manner, if they’re ever discovered at all, the statistical risks are well under reported.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the problems associated with these kinds of accidents appear less serious because of this discrepancy. This discrepancy impedes efforts to win passage of tougher laws.

Currently, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on a cell phone. That’s not stopped most of them though.

Unfortunately, drivers don’t see the risks involved in this behavior and they’re not deterred by current laws. According to the NSC, close to 200 fatal accidents were reviewed from 2009 to 2011 in which a cell phone was probably the cause of the accident. Unfortunately, only about half were recorded as distracted driving accidents.

Even in many cases where drivers openly admitted to using a cell phone in the accident, officers many times don’t record them as distraction related.

According to the latest statistics, there over 32,000 roadway fatalities recorded in the U.S. in 2011. Less than 400 were listed as distracted driving accidents involving cell phones. Yet other sources report that close to 4,000 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents.

It’s no secret. We’ve all been behind the wheel on a cell phone at least once in our lives –whether we were making a phone call, answering a text message or even checking out email. But it’s these dangerous behaviors that can cause a deadly accident — in a matter of seconds.

Now is an important time of the year, with summer break approaching, to talk to our younger drivers about the importance of attentive driving. Make sure they understand the risks involved with texting or calling behind the wheel. Make sure they’re pulling over and coming to a safe stop before attending to business. It’s a move that could wind up saving their life.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a traffic collision in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Drivers Blatantly Disregarding Safety on NC Roadways, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2013

Distracted Driving Awareness Month Aims to Prevent Car Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 24, 2013

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