Two brothers, ages 1 and 5, were killed recently in west Charlotte when a delivery truck driver allegedly struck them after making a wide turn at the intersection of W. Tyvola Road and Shady Lane.
Our Charlotte car accident attorneys understand that police believe distracted driving was to blame, and have charged the driver with a criminal misdemeanor. The boys had been walking with relatives to daycare that morning. The driver had been on his way to his first delivery in Rock Hill.
Witnesses say he was laughing as he made the turn, an indication, investigators say, that he was either involved in a conversation or distracted by a radio program or some other device.
Another recent North Carolina crash, this one in Asheville, was also said to have involved distraction. Investigators say a woman who was killed when her vehicle struck another on Interstate 40 was likely talking on her cell phone. Investigators said that officers found three cell phones in the vehicle - and two of those were open.
Clearly, these incidents just go to further illustrate what a huge problem distracted driving truly is in North Carolina, as well as throughout the country.
AAA reports that cell phone distractions while driving quadruple the risk of crashing, and it's believed to be a factor in some 8,000 crashes each day.
State law bars texting while driving, but a proposal that would have made talking on cell phones while driving illegal failed to pass the state legislature.
Cell phone and texting records are now routinely preserved in the event of a crash, to determine definitively whether distraction was a factor. That information can be used in future civil lawsuits.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued guidelines to auto manufacturers in the hopes of reducing distractions related to built-in electronic devices in vehicles. Those include devices used for communication, navigation and entertainment.
Secretary Ray LaHood said that while drivers do appreciate certain features in their vehicles, there must be a better balance with regard to safety.
As such, the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's voluntary guidelines involve criteria such as ensuring that those devices don't require more than two seconds of attention to operate.
Additionally, the NHTSA says that certain features should be disabled while the vehicle is in motion. For example, manual text entry for text messaging and internet browsing should cease while the driver is in motion. Same thing with video-based communications or entertainment and the display for certain kinds of social media content, web pages and text messaging.
These recommendations are in line with the findings revealed in NHTSA's recent study, The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk.
While there are steps that auto manufacturers can do to limit driver distractions, it's ultimately up to the person behind the wheel.
Tragedies such as what happened recently in Charlotte and Asheville shouldn't be happening. We call them "accidents" in that no one intended for them to occur. However, that doesn't mean they aren't 100 percent preventable.
Continue reading "Fatal Charlotte Truck Accident Blamed on Distraction" »