Distracted Driving Claims Yet Another Life in North Carolina

Yet another car accident is being blamed on distraction.
A 35-year-old woman in Caldwell County, about an hour-and-a-half north of Charlotte, crashed her car while attempting to access her GPS navigation on her phone. As a result of the crash, her 61-year=old father was killed and six others were injured.

She was charged with driving with a revoked license, but she may also be charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

The accident occurred amid new figures released from AAA, which indicates the use of cell phones by drivers causes 300,000 accident and more than 2,500 deaths annually. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the fatality figure at closer to 3,100.)

With this in mind, AAA Carolinas has launched a new safe driving campaign. On large delivery trucks, the organization has plastered bright yellow signs. It warns people that “Life has no redial,” and to “Stay off the phone!”

The trucks are being driven across the Carolinas and are also being posted at a number of gas stations.

At any given moment, the agency estimates, there are 660,000 motorists using cell phones or other electronic devices in any given moment of daylight.

The mother of a teen killed in a cell phone-related crash is backing the campaign, and has launched one of her own, called “Dying Changes Everything.” The 17-year-old was killed while trying to make a call and a left turn at the same time. She is seeking to get support for the Brian Garlock Act, which was introduced to state legislators earlier this year. It would only give drivers the freedom to use hands-free cell phone functions and technologies.

North Carolina law bars all drivers from texting while they operate a vehicle. Novice drivers (under 18) and school bus drivers are also forbidden from using a cell phone at all for any purpose while driving.

The law won’t be passed this session, as a key deadline for it to succeed was missed. However, safety advocates are hopeful it will pass next year.

Among some of the other recent distracted-driving cases locally:

  • In 2011, two pedestrians, a father and daughter died, when a teen driver reached for a phone she’d dropped on the floor.
  • In 2009, a 16-year-old girl was killed after she careened off the road and into a pole while sending a text message to her mother.

Safety advocates urge drivers to put their phone in an out-of-reach location before they get behind the wheel. Keeping it out of sight makes it less tempting to reach for it.

A recent survey by AT&T found 1 in 10 drivers video-chat on their commute home from work every day. Another 60 percent admitted to texting while driving. A third conceded they check their email while operating a car and 17 percent admitted they took “selfies” while driving.

Those who conducted the survey called social media a “digital drug” that people seek to get a “high” from, the same way they would a slot machine.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Fatal Caldwell County wreck another case of distracted driving, June 24, 2015, By Erin Bacon, Charlotte Observer

More Blog Entries:
Spartanburg Crash Proves Fatal, Man Thrown from Vehicle, June 30, 2015, Charlotte Car Accident Attorney Blog

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