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Patrick Austin
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Texting and Driving Leads to Fatal Crash in North Carolina

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We hear it all the time: don’t text and drive. Still, I can’t drive more than a few miles without seeing someone drifting across a lane or sitting at a green light because they are texting. I believe people know texting and driving can kill; they just never believe they will be the victim. Tragically, another texting driver was the victim in North Carolina on April 24th.

The driver was traveling on Business 85 in High Point, North Carolina when she decided to post a comment on Facebook. Referring to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy”, she wrote “The Happy Song makes me so HAPPY”. Seconds later, her car crossed the median and hit a truck head-on, killing her.

The investigating police lieutenant said she texted the Facebook post at 8:33 a.m., and the police were called about the wreck at 8:34 a.m. Further investigation of her Facebook account showed she had posted multiple “selfies” to Facebook earlier in the morning, also while driving.

I cannot imagine the shock and sadness this woman’s family is experiencing. I am truly sorry for their loss, and sorry for all families who have lost loved ones to texting and driving.

Texting while driving is illegal in 43 states, including North Carolina. It is a primary offense, meaning police who spot someone texting and driving can pull him over without any other reason. The average text takes 5 seconds, and that’s 5 seconds the driver’s eyes aren’t on the road. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that cell phone use makes a driver four times as likely to get into an accident that causes injury.

Distracted driving is dangerous, and it isn’t limited to texting and driving. Talking on the phone, changing the radio station, eating, and even talking to other passengers all cause distracted driving. Among teens, the risk of distraction from other passengers is particularly dangerous, which is why some states limit the number of passengers young drivers can have in the car.

In our fast-paced society, where there never seems to be enough time to get things done, and we multi-task beyond our capability to try to make the most of our time, it is even more important to make the conscious effort when driving to slow down, concentrate on the road, and realize that nothing else – especially texting – is as important as arriving alive. Facebook, Twitter, and friends can wait. And if they can’t, pull over. A life lost to distracted driving is a life that should not have been lost. For more information, see this article on the North Carolina texting and driving law.