Texting While Driving Accidents

Chances are if you use a cell phone you have sent or received a text message. A text message is a brief message limited to 160 characters sent between mobile devices. While text messaging is a convenient way to communicate, it poses a serious safety hazard if performed while driving. Recent studies have shown that the distraction caused by receiving and sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle is equal to or greater than the slowed reaction time of an impaired driver. Here are some statistics compiled by the United States Government's task force on distracted driving:

  • In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. 18% of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009.
  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina, with limited exceptions for emergency responders as well as voice-activated technology or GPS. The law requires a person sending or receiving a text to wait to pull over or stop before texting or e-mailing. All cell phone use is prohibited under North Carolina law by drivers under 18 years of age.

Despite North Carolina's ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving, texting while driving continues to be a problem. Many drivers who would never consider the thought of operating a motor vehicle impaired, nevertheless text while driving. This practice is especially prevalent among younger drivers. 37% of drivers between the ages of 18 to 27 years admit to texting while driving compared to 2% of drivers between the ages of 45 and 60.

Unfortunately many accidents caused by texting involve serious injury or death. Determining whether or not texting was a contributing factor in any accident can be a challenge. Obtaining cell phone records and establishing the exact time of the collision are essential.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by texting or other distracted driving, call the attorneys of Price, Hargett, Petho & Anderson. Our staff of experienced attorneys understand the unique challenges these types of cases present. Consultation is free, and there is never a fee unless we recover damages on your behalf.