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Teen Distractions Behind the Wheel Kill — 5 Simple Steps That Can Help Save a Life

Summertime means more teens will be driving on our roadways – and many will not be paying attention. Inattention behind the wheel among teens is so widespread that AAA refers to summertime when teens are out of school as the ‘100 deadliest days for teens.’

Crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, and distracted driving is thought to contribute to more than half of teen crashes. Worse, teen fatality rates are three times higher than other age groups.

As a father of two teenagers who will be driving on their own soon, these statistics alarm me. As a lawyer, I have seen an exponential growth in distracted driving crashes in recent years.

We’re Taking the Distracted Driving Message to High Schools

For these reasons and more my firm has partnered with EnDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) to offer a distracted driving educational program to area high schools.

This program was developed by Joel Feldman, an attorney whose 21-year-old daughter was tragically killed by a distracted driver. It is truly unlike any other we know of, and has been extremely well received by more than 300,000 students in 44 states and Canada. And it is recognized by traffic safety experts, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Governors Highway Safety Association, as one of the most effective programs for teens.

Joel worked with psychologists and teen safe-driving experts to integrate behavioral science, behavior change theory, and teen-targeted persuasion principles specifically designed to avoid any potential teen backlash of feeling as though someone is trying to restrict their freedom and rights.

We are excited about this effort. And based on feedback, we hope it will help make a positive impact in our communities.

5 Ways You Can Help Curb Distracted Driving

Because distracted driving affects all of us, it’s everyone’s problem. And this growing and deadly epidemic needs attention from all fronts. Here is what each of us, including you, can do to help try to render distracted driving unacceptable – period.

  • Model appropriate behavior behind the wheel. Don’t drive distracted
  • Download, print, and display the YES! I WILL family pledge and safe driving agreement from EndDD.org
  • Visit teendriving.aaa.com/NC for safety resources for your teen drivers
  • Start discussions early on, well before teens reach driving age
  • Take advantage of some of the latest apps (some free) and tech gadgets that can help make it easier for teens (and all of us) to avoid using phones while behind the wheel.

I urge you to join me in modeling this behavior for our young drivers, so that eventually this dangerous practice will no longer be considered acceptable.

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact us online or call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

What Caused Nearly 50,000 Car Accidents in NC and Why Can’t We Stop It?

Close up of a young redhead woman driver correcting her makeup3,328 people were killed in collisions involving distracted drivers in 2012.

In North Carolina alone, distracted driving was to blame for 49,643 (23.2% of all) car accidents that same year.

And these statistics may not tell the whole story as distracted driving accidents are often under-reported.

There are many behaviors that can be considered “distracted” driving, but texting and driving is considered one of the most common – and one of the most dangerous.

While public education campaigns have been successful in curbing some dangerous behaviors, such as drunk driving, distracted driving education efforts have not had a similar effect.

If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact a North Carolina accident attorney for help.

Texting & Driving Campaigns VS Drunk Driving Campaigns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and many private companies, such as Toyota, AT&T, State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance, have all launched distracted driving campaigns.

The result?

An increased rate in the number of drivers using handheld devices (1.3% in 2011 to 1.5% in 2012).

This is surprising because other campaigns, such as anti-drunk driving, have been able to make a much more significant difference over time.

For example, in 1988, the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication launched the U.S. Designated Driver campaign aimed at introducing the “designated driver” concept in an effort to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents.

When the program launched, there had been 23,626 deaths as a result of a crash involving alcohol (1988). By 1991, 52% of Americans under the age of 30 had served as designated drivers and 54% of frequent drinkers said they had been driven home by designated drivers. And by 1992, the number of fatalities had dropped by 24%.

So, why haven’t distracted driving campaigns been able to achieve a similar decline in the number of distracted motorists?

 

Person dangerously texting and driving at the same timeTexting & Driving Audience Harder to Reach

One reason might be that drunk driving campaigns were launched at a time when it was much easier to reach a wider audience.

During the 1988 drunk driving campaign, there were just three broadcast networks, which the campaign used heavily to introduce their message – featuring the designated driver in popular TV shows such as “Cheers,” “L.A. Law” and “The Cosby Show,” as well as numerous public service announcements.

Since today’s audience is spread across much more than three stations, it’s possible that the texting and driving generation may just be harder to reach in general.

Hard to Enforce = Less Effective

Another issue may be that drunk driving laws are easier to enforce.

Studies have shown that public service campaigns are significantly more effective when combined with “behavioral” measures, such as law enforcement and may be able to reduce the number of collisions by as much as 12%.

North Carolina did pass a ban on texting and driving back in 2009, but senators and law enforcement officers expressed concern that the law would be difficult to enforce. From December 2009 to May 2010, just 71 citations for texting were issued statewide.

Police attributed low enforcement rates to the fact that it is difficult to tell when someone is texting versus making a phone call. If North Carolina were to ban all handheld use of cell phones, this could help to make enforcement easier and thus make safety campaigns more effective.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we’re committed to helping address the texting and driving problem – by fighting for the victims of these terrible accidents cause. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, contact us online today or call us at 1-866-900-7078. Our North Carolina accident attorneys will evaluate your case for free.

Parents Can Reduce Teen Crash Risk by 50% – Just By Getting Involved

Teenagers male and female drivers on road after car accidentIn 2012 alone, teen drivers in North Carolina crashed more than 40,000 times – resulting in 9,000 injuries and 71 deaths (according to the NC DMV).

That is a lot of car accidents.

But what if half of those accidents could be prevented?

According to a recent study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, all it may take is a little more instruction from parents.

The study reported that teens were half as likely to crash and 71% less likely to drink and drive if their parents helped teach them how to drive.

In addition, teens were two times more likely to wear their seat belt and 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving. North Carolina is taking these statistics seriously and unveiled a new safety campaign aimed at getting parents more involved.

NC’s “Parent’s Supervised Driving Program”

Fox 8 reported in December that the North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles launched the safety campaign with a goal of boosting the amount and quality of training teen drivers receive from their parents.

The campaign, called the “Parent’s Supervised Driving Program,” encourages parents to go beyond the required 72 hours of supervised driving time and offers a number of important tips, advice, and other supportive materials for parents who are taking their teens on the road for driving lessons.

Under the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program campaign, teen drivers will be given a written curriculum for their parents when they obtain their learner’s permit. Fox 8 said that this curriculum contains helpful information for parents to make the most of their supervised time together, such as when and where they should take their teens driving.

You can even download their “RoadReady” app that tracks distance traveled, road types, and road conditions against each state’s specific driving requirements.

The campaign has been rolled out in several other states and operates entirely off of corporate sponsors.

Parents Need to Get Involved

Despite the evidence illustrating how much teen drivers can benefit from increased supervision while learning how to drive, the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program found that only 4% of parents used a resource while teaching their child how to drive and that parents often stop the supervised driving process early or overestimate the time they have spent supervising their teen.

It’s clear that increased parental supervision can go a long way toward preventing accidents, and we encourage all parents to take a more active role in training their teens how to drive. You can do your part to make North Carolina roads safe for everyone.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a car accident lawyer in North Carolina. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we’ll be happy to evaluate your case for free. Just call us at 1-866-900-7078 today.

Texting + Walking in NC – You Could Get Hurt (And Be Liable)

Remember this video of the woman who fell into a fountain while texting that went viral a couple of years ago?

Although humorous, in interviews after the video became popular, she later reminded viewers about the seriousness of texting and walking, asking: what if that fountain had been a bus?

But despite her warnings, texting and walking has become a real problem with devastating consequences.

Texting While Walking Accidents

A study by Ohio State University earlier this year reported that the number of pedestrians injured because they were distracted by using their phone while walking has more than doubled since 2005.

Further, they report that the researchers believe the actual number of injured pedestrians is much higher due to many not seeking treatment in an emergency room or not reporting the involvement of a cell phone in the accident.

Aerial top view of a man with smartphone crossing the road in the city“If current trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again between 2010 and 2015,” said Jack Nasar, co-author of the study and professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University.

Efforts to Stop Texting and Walking Accidents in NC

Last year a New Jersey town actually banned texting while walking in response to several fatal pedestrian accidents and now North Carolina has decided it’s also time to take action.

According to WFMY News, one of Watch for Me NC campaign’s latest initiatives has been focusing on this very problem – encouraging pedestrians to keep their eyes on the road, not on their cell phone screen.

“It’s something we see all the time. It’s very common, see people walking with their heads down texting….not paying attention to their surroundings,” said Officer Brad Smith with UNCG Police in the WFMY story.

He went on to say that the number of distracted pedestrians, combined with the number of distracted drivers, makes for many very dangerous situations.

Texting and Walking Could Be “Contributory Negligence” in NC

In North Carolina, we have what is called “contributory negligence” which basically means that if you’re found to have contributed to the accident in any way, the other party (or their insurance company) may not have to pay for your injuries or property damage – even if they were “more” at fault.

In our experience, this means if you were distracted by a cell phone at the time of an accident, an insurance company may try to use that against you to avoid paying your medical bills or other damages.

However, the state of North Carolina does allow for some exceptions to the contributory negligence rule. If you may have contributed to your accident in some way, we highly recommend that you contact a pedestrian lawyer in NC.

NC Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

The injuries from a pedestrian accident can be serious and long-lasting. If you or a loved one were hit by a car, you should contact a North Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer right away.

A NC pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to help you get the medical treatments you need now and provisions for future medical needs.

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has helped thousands of residents in North Carolina to get the benefits they needed and we may be able to help you. Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation today.

Texting and Driving Video: “From One Second to the Next” An It Can Wait Documentary

young woman using a smart phone, mobile while driving a carThere’s a powerful Warner Herzog documentary called “From One Second to the Next” that’s making waves right now about the dangers of texting and driving.

There are tear-jerkers.

Then there are sob-wrenchers.

And then there is this video.

Watch it.

These are true stories. If you, or a loved one, sometimes think texting and driving isn’t such a big deal, this might change your mind.

(produced by www.itcanwait.org)

Texting and Driving Kills

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

That’s more people than were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

In just that one year, 3,000 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters were taken from families that loved them – families who are now left to live with a gnawing pain that the horrendous accident that killed their loved one could have been prevented.

And people are still being killed. Every. Single. Day.

Not to mention all the victims like Xzavier or Debbie who were not killed, but their lives are forever changed.

Get an NC texting and driving car accident lawyer

Texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina and it ­must be taken seriously.

If you, or a loved one, were the victim of a texting and driving accident, we strongly encourage you to seek legal help.

Dealing with the consequences of a texting and driving accident can be costly and long-lasting, we need drivers to realize what a serious, serious problem this is and taking legal action might just be the push they need.

We’re committed to trying to help those injured by a distracted driver, one case at a time. If you need help, please call us at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

Legislators Get Serious About Texting and Driving

texting on a red cell phone while drivingLOL – Lots of Loss

Texting and driving – we all know it’s a “no, no,” but as drivers continue to ignore warnings, legislators are getting serious about enforcing the rule.

“Distractions while driving” has been part of mainstream conversation about accident causes for years. Whether it’s eating, changing the radio station, or talking on a cell phone, research supports the idea that these drivers bring serious risk to the road.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, texting while driving accounts for:

  • 1,600,000 accidents per year;
  • 330,000 injuries per year;
  • 11 teen deaths every day;
  • And nearly 25% of all car accidents

Legislative Response

That’s a lot of death and destruction that could have easily been prevented. So what are legislators doing about it? A few recent changes to laws in many states have been:

  • Disallowing talking verbally on the phone, without a hands-free device;
  • Prohibiting all cell phone use, handheld or hands-free;
  • And considering cell phone usage while driving a “primary offense,” (meaning you can be pulled over specifically for it, without the officer citing an additional reason).

NC’s Laws on Texting and Driving

In North Carolina, all drivers are prohibited from texting while driving and it is a primary offense. Only school bus and novice drivers are prohibited from all cell phone usage, both handheld and hands-free.

Harmed by a Distracted Driver?

Cell phone usage is such a grave issue because each accident it causes could have been prevented. If you, or someone you love, were a victim of a distracted driver’s negligence, take action now – call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078.

We’re tired of seeing people injured, or killed, as the result of cell phone use. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, don’t become a victim of their insurance company as well – make sure your rights are protected, contact us today. Representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer a no-cost evaluation of your case.