Distracted Driving a Primary Cause of Asheville Car Accidents

July 6, 2011, by

The National Safety Council is wrapping up its June Safety Month by encouraging all motorists to put the phone down and drive. Distracted driving remains a primary cause of car accidents in Asheville and elsewhere in the Carolinas.

With the summer travel season upon us, our Asheville personal injury lawyers encourage all motorists to take seriously the risk of driving distracted. The NSC estimates 1.3 million accidents a year -- or 23 percent of all distracted driving crashes -- involves a driver texting or talking on a cell phone.
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The Governor's Highway Safety Association reports North Carolina is one of a dwindling number of states that has no law on the books banning cell phone use behind the wheel, though text messaging while driving has been illegal since 2009 and is punishable by a $100 fine.

South Carolina fairs even worse -- not even school bus drivers are prohibited from texting or otherwise using the cell phone while driving.

"It's all about safety, and I think we have a lot of law-abiding citizens," Ron Wyatt, president of a local chapter of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police, told WRAL News when the law was enacted. "If people know it's illegal, we'd hope they'd abide by those rules."

The NSC encourages drivers to:

-Turn off or silence their cell phones while behind the wheel.

-Record a voicemail greeting that alerts callers to the fact that you may not be answering because you are driving.

-Stop and park in a safe area if using a cell phone is necessary while driving.

-Encourage family, friends and others to stop using their phone while behind the wheel.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is particularly concerned about the impact of texting while driving because texting involves three forms of distraction: visual (eyes off the road), manual (hands off the wheel) and cognitive (mind off driving).

Other forms of distraction may include:

-Eating, drinking or applying makeup.

-Grooming.

-Talking to passengers.

-Reading or looking at maps.

-Smoking.

-Using in-car electronics, including the stereo or GPS device.

Teens are the most at risk. Sixteen percent of fatal accidents involving teen drivers are blamed on distracted driving.

And the risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident continues to increase, even as the overall number of fatal accidents has been on the decline -- the proportion of distracted driving accidents has increased from 10 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2009. Nationwide, 5,474 motorists were killed that year in accidents blamed on driver distraction.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact the North Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You've Been Paid.