Legislators Hesitant to Enact Laws to Reduce Risks of Distraction-Related Car Accidents in North Carolina

Lt. Tim Tomczak oversees traffic enforcement and accident reconstruction efforts in Raleigh, North Carolina. Tomczak knows firsthand what can happen when drivers focus on phone conversations while trying to navigate a motor vehicle, according to the News Observer. He admits to keeping his phone calls to a minimum behind the wheel, but says he knows how hard it can be for drivers to ignore the phone. As drivers continue to answer phones behind the wheel, the risk of car accidents in North Carolina will continue to be a concern for everyone.
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According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, North Carolina law only bans school bus drivers and drivers who are under the age of 18 from using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. All drivers are prohibited from text messaging behind the wheel, which officials are finding is a difficult law to enforce.

Our North Carolina car accident lawyers understand that law enforcement officers have a difficult time determining if a driver was texting at the wheel or simply dialing a phone number, which is allowed by most. To help to clear up the confusion and make our roadways safer for everyone, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing for a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices.

Sometimes it can be tough for an officer to positively conclude whether a driver was using a cell phone before an accident, but Tomczak has investigated numerous accidents where that was the case. He says the risks are the same, whether a driver is using a hands-free device or a hand-held phone.

“It’s not the act of holding the phone in your hand,” Tomczak told the paper. “The distracting part is having your attention split between two tasks.”

As of now, there are 35 states in the country, including North Carolina, that prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel. There are only nine states that have made it illegal for drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving. If the NTSB’s recommendation is adopted by lawmakers in all 50 states, all portable electronic devices would be prohibited for driver, except in emergency situations.

The call for a nationwide ban comes as big automakers are working to turn vehicles into the ultimate electronic device, including in-car phones, televisions, navigation systems and much more.

“No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” said chairman of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman.

According to CNN, the recommendation from the NTSB may be a hard sell in all 50 states. Legislators are expected to be reluctant to upset constituents. Although a majority of drivers recognize the risks that come with distracted driving, not many are willing to hang up the phone.

Contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. if you or someone you love has been injured in a distraction-related car accident in North or South Carolina. Our experienced team of car accident attorneys can help to advise you of your rights and pursue the proper compensation for your injuries. Call 1-800-887-1965 to schedule a free appointment.

Additional Resources:

Phone-free driving law wouldn’t be popular, by Bruce Siceloff, News Observer

Is 2012 the year to hang up the phone?, by Bob Greene, CNN

More Blog Entries:

Resolve to Reduce your Risk of a Carolina Car Accident in 2012, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 4, 2012

New Data from NHTSA Indicates Fatal Car Accidents in North Carolina Still High in 2010, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 1, 2012

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