N.C. Efforts to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents Don’t Measure Up

The level of concern for distracted-driving accidents in Asheville, Charlotte and elsewhere in the state has grown dramatically over the years. The issue may even match the level of concern for drunk-driving accidents because many people are losing their lives in accidents caused by someone texting, putting on makeup or fiddling with the radio.
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Greensboro car accident lawyers know that advocates, state lawmakers and government officials direct a lot of attention to distraction-related behaviors. Like drunk driving, it is a choice and a damaging behavior that can be changed if motorists make a commitment to do so.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is an organization that works with state highway safety offices in implementing programs that can improve safety for roadway users. We posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that the GHSA released a comprehensive distracted-driving study recently in which they looked at the dangers of distracted driving, the impact it has on driving performance and what states can do to begin curtailing the problem.

The GHSA periodically surveys state highway safety offices to learn which programs are being implemented to improve roadway safety for pedestrians and motorists alike. In 2010, the GHSA distributed a survey to state offices asking them to detail what countermeasures are being implemented to reduce distracted driving accidents.

According to the 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs , most states are vigilant in their efforts to keep accidents at a minimum. The problem is that technology is growing so fast that it is nearly impossible to keep motorists from getting distracted by smartphones and in-vehicle devices. Key findings from the survey include:

-State highway safety offices have made distracted driving a primary concern. Twenty-seven states have incorporated distracted driving into their strategic highway safety plans.

-Data collection from crashes has improved with 43 states indicating that they determine and document on police reports whether distraction caused the accident.

-Almost half of the states have created documents geared toward teen drivers and the dangers of driving distracted. A third of the states have a driver distraction question on the driver’s license test.

-Thirty-seven states provide education campaigns and public information on distracted driving. North Carolina is one of very few states that provide technical assistance or training to judges and courts on distracted driving.

-Only 15 states use Twitter and Facebook as a method of conveying anti-distracted driving messages to the public.

North Carolina is not a state that has made distracted driving a priority in the strategic highway safety plan, nor do law enforcement officials collect and document data regarding whether a form of distraction caused the accident. Teens are not provided with distracted driving materials in North Carolina, but it is a required component of driver education and included on the state driver’s license test. North Carolina educates the public about the dangers of distracted driving through traditional methods but not through the use of media or social networking.

It is clear that much can still be done to create a balance that is needed between enforcement, education and legislation if our state wants to minimize the number of distracted driving accidents occurring on roadways.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in North Carolina, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965 today.

More Blog Entries:

Safe Behaviors, Among Other Things, Can Reduce Severity of Injuries Sustained in Asheville Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 22, 2011.

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