When the Car is On, Turn Off the Cell.
We see it every day, multiple times a day – drivers on the road talking or texting on their phone. Government agencies, non-profits, and private companies have been launching campaigns to warn us about the dangers of driving while on our cell phones for years. However, the problem only seems to be getting worse.
The National Safety Council showed that cell phones are now involved in 26% of all motor vehicle wrecks. The study showed that texting compromised 5% of the wrecks, while 21% involved drivers talking on their phones. These numbers include people who opt to use hands-free devices with their cell phones.
In North Carolina, it is illegal to use your electronic device to text or email while driving on a public street, highway or even a parking lot. The prohibition involves manually entering text into the device, and reading any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device. While there are exceptions, such as being able to use the device in this manner when the vehicle is stopped or parked, the offense carries a $100.00 fine if your are convicted. Additionally, no insurance points or surcharges are assessed for a violation.
North Carolina has also passed laws prohibiting the use of mobile devices for calls while driving for school bus drivers and individuals under the age of 18. However, there is no prohibition for other drivers. While some North Carolina municipalities have tried to ban the use of cell phones for everyone, none have thus far been successful.
Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road, including the driver. We at Leone Noble & Seate, LLP have seen many instances where folks are severely injured due to cell phone usage while driving. While there is no insurance surcharge for using a phone while driving, the consequences if you cause a wreck or commit another violation because you are distracted by it can result in an insurance surcharge. Depending on the offense and/or the severity of the wreck and your driving history, these surcharges can range from a 25% to 400%.
No call or text message is worth the consequences that can come from driving while distracted. If the call or text cannot wait, then safely pull over on the shoulder or park the car in a safe location and resume driving after the communication is over.
If you have been injured in a collision or suffered another type of accident, you should consult with and consider retaining an experienced personal injury attorney regarding these issues and to help maximize your recovery. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance.