Officials hope graphic video helps reduce North Carolina car accidents caused by text messaging

Authorities hope a new series of public service announcements will help reduce the risk of North Carolina car accidents involving teenagers who text message while behind the wheel.

The Charlotte Observer interviewed a number of teenagers who said the video was hard to watch.
It depicts teenagers in a car, texting and talking. The ride turns deadly as the teenagers in the car are injured or killed in an accident, along with the family in the other car involved in the wreck.

Authorities are hoping such an in-your-face message will make the point: Distracted driving has become a deadly serious problem on the nation’s roads. The number of fatal accidents nationwide has declined from 42,836 in 2004 to 37,261 in 2008. But the number of traffic fatalities blamed on distracted driving has actually increased about 25 percent, from 4,978 in 2004 to 5,870 in 2008, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The new video by AAA has gotten mixed reviews because of its graphic nature. However, the agency is making no apologies.

“It’s one thing to tell people not to text and drive. By eliciting an emotional response, we hope this video will change deadly distracted driving behavior,” said Dave Parsons, CEO of AAA Carolinas, through a news release.

The federal government’s distracted driving website reports that more than 6,000 motorists are killed each year and 600,000 are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 have the highest rate of distraction-related fatal crashes. Those ages 20 to 29 have the next-highest rate of fatal accidents caused by distracted driving.

Both age groups are among the most likely to text or use a cell phone while driving.

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.

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