Notice: Due to COVID-19, we will be conducting all consultations either via video chat, phone, or email. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions!
man texting while driving

How Big of a Problem is Texting-and-Driving?

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reported that 247,214 car accidents occurred in 2020, with almost 18% of them resulting from distracted driving. A closer look at the total number of distracted driving accidents show:

  • 44,128 crashes due to distracted driving.
  • 18,552 injuries as a result of these collisions.
  • 157 total fatalities from these incidents.

Nationwide Data

Unfortunately, these figures do not just reflect what's happening in North Carolina. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 8.7% of all car accident-related fatalities in the United States in 2019 were due to distracted driving. These crashes ultimately resulted in 3,124 deaths—a staggering 9.9% increase from the prior year.

What Causes Distracted Driving?

While there are several methods of distracted driving, the primary point of contention is texting-and-driving. This is due to the astronomical surge in cell phone users over the last decade.

Currently, over 85 percent of adults in the US own a smartphone. Looking back to the early days of smartphone usage, 52 percent of drivers owned smartphones in 2011 compared to the incredible spike to 80 percent in 2014. While most drivers on the road own a mobile device, what compels them to use it while driving?

Attachment to Our Smartphones

Some studies explain the reasoning behind driving while texting. The overwhelming majority of people surveyed reference a feeling of anxiety if they do not check in with their mobile devices frequently.

Whether it is because of the perceived social implications of not responding to a text message quickly enough or the temporary feelings of gratification when using social media, drivers constantly report a certain yearning to check their smartphones.

Receiving text messages and using social media also releases dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain responsible for making us feel good.

Overconfident Drivers

Many car owners operate with the attitude that they are the safest drivers on the road. This thinking leads to more instances of texting-and-driving because they do not believe they will get into a car accident. They think everyone else will.

While 94 percent of drivers support a texting-and-driving ban, 75 percent continue to text-and-drive. In other words, most drivers only want other drivers to stop texting-and-driving.

Creating Safer Roadways

Eliminating texting-and-driving, and distracted driving overall, is not just to benefit the driver being distracted. By focusing on the road and avoiding distractions, the roads can be a much safer place for all drivers.

Consequences

In North Carolina, texting while driving is illegal, with some exceptions for first responders on the job and minors communicating with their parents. Even minor infractions can lead to fines and license suspension. Of course, in the worst instances of distracted driving, the consequences can be much more dire and life-threatening.

Distracted Driving Laws

While the federal government has passed laws prohibiting federal employees from texting-and-driving while operating company vehicles, the states are left to govern their own policies regarding distracted driving. Even though most states have enacted some form of texting-and-driving law, a few like Montana and Missouri have not. Change must happen sooner rather than later because, at this rate, distracted driving accidents and fatalities are only going to increase.

Durham Car Accident Attorneys

At Wallace Pierce Law, we have been protecting the rights and providing efficient legal representation for those involved in distracted driving accidents. If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident, our experienced car accident attorneys can help. We will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call us today at (919) 887-7892 or fill out our form online for a free initial consultation.

Categories