According to research from Monash University, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into serious car accidents.
The National Highways Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 16 percent of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving, and 20 percent of crashes with injuries involved distracted driving.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and officials are trying to get the word out that talking on the cell phone or trying to text while driving poses a significant risk to safety, both to yourself and to other drivers.
Many companies and local governments have already taken steps to regulate distracted driving.
State Cell Phone Laws
Nine states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. No state bans all cell phone use (hand-held and hands-free) by all drivers. However, 36 states ban text messaging for all drivers.
In North Carolina, there is a ban on text messaging for all drivers, and school bus drivers and drivers under 18 are banned from using cell phones while driving. Using a phone to check e-mail or the Internet while driving is also prohibited for all drivers.
The local Chapel Hill government recently passed a ban on the use of all cell phones while driving, including hands-free devices. The ban will go into effect on June 1.
Federal Laws for Businesses
A new federal law has also been passed that bans commercial drivers from using hand-held cell phones. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration law took effect on January 3.
Under the new law, not only can commercial drivers be fined for using a cell phone, but companies can also be fined for requiring or allowing drivers to use cell phones.
Many companies are following suit by passing their own distracted-driving policies. Reliance Steel & Aluminum told USA Today that it has banned the use of any kind of electronic communication device while driving, including CB or cell phone for calling or texting. Enbridge Energy Partners told the paper that it has banned the use of cell phones for company business while driving, even in personal vehicles.
North Carolina Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident that involved a distracted driver who was talking on a cell phone or texting, you may be entitled to compensation. One of the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 right now for a free evaluation of your case!