The newest danger on US highways is the multi-tasking driver. The advent of cell phones and mobile technology has tempted many to attempt texting and emailing while driving. Today, looking out your car window to see the driver next to you absorbed in some digital conversation is commonplace-you see more drivers talking or holding their phone at a red light, than not doing so. One hand on the wheel, the other hammering out some message on their cell phone, Blackberry, or Palm Pilot, these drivers pose a huge threat to anyone unfortunate enough to be on the road near them. While the perception may be that they are "only taking their eyes off the road for a second," the reality is that texting drivers are more impaired than any other drivers on the road due to the concentration required to handle the cell phone tasks.
Texting while driving has been proven by multiple studies to be extremely dangerous. The TRL found texting while driving to be even more dangerous than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Virginia Tech researchers found that truckers who texted while driving were 23.2 times as likely to get into an accident. Although most people recognize that texting while driving is dangerous, a recent poll indicates that 21% of drivers still do it. So, if you are still not convinced take a look at the video below from the Today Show showing footage of a bus accident caused by texting.
Many states have recognized the inherent dangers of texting while driving, and taken action to prevent it. In the past several years, states such as Virginia (VA) have passed laws prohibiting texting on the road.
This post covers Virginia’s texting/emailing ban:
Recently, North Carolina (NC) has followed suit and passed a law banning texting while driving. As of December 1, 2009, it will be unlawful for any person in North Carolina to text and drive. Any person caught in violation of this law will face a fine of $100. The law is not limited to texting; it also extends to other cell phone functions such as e-mail, games, or internet usage while driving. Exceptions are made for emergency situations. Specifically, working police officers, firefighters, and ambulance drivers are excluded.
This new law adds to two previous laws North Carolina has already enacted regarding cell phone use while driving. In 2006 North Carolina passed a cell phone law prohibiting minors from using cell phones or texting while driving with the exception of emergency situations. Violation of this law results in a $25 fine. Additionally, a law passed in 2007 banned bus drivers from texting or operating cell phones in North Carolina (NC). Failure to comply with the terms of this law results in a minimum $100 fine.
North Carolina laws addressing the problem of texting while driving is a necessary step that all states need to take. North Carolina’s legislative actions will serve to make NC highways and interstates safer for everyone. Hopefully the law will deter drivers from texting and prevent accidents like the one shown above from happening in the future.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. We also host a YouTube injury law video library with more than 50 videos covering many FAQs on personal injury subjects. Lawyers with Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton are licensed in VA, NC, SC, WV, DC and KY. They handle car, truck, railroad, medical negligence cases and more.