According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), just under 19 percent of North Carolina motor vehicle accidents (over 53,500 accidents) in 2019 involved a driver who was distracted behind the wheel. These North Carolina distracted driving accidents were reportedly responsible for over 23,400 injuries and over 150 deaths, making distracted driving one of the more common causes of car accidents.
Types of distracted driving
There are three main types of distracted driving: visual, auditory, and manual. Many forms of distracted driving fall into more than one of these categories.
- Visual – Distractions that requires you to take your eyes off the road.
- Auditory – Sounds that distract you or cause you to lose focus while driving.
- Cognitive – Mental distractions that take your mind off the road
Some of the most common forms of distracted driving include:
- Talking to passengers
- Using a cell phone to text, email, or surf the internet
- Eating and drinking
- Putting on makeup
- Adjusting the radio, GPS, or air conditioner
- Attempting to grab something from the backset
Under North Carolina law, using a mobile phone to text or email while driving on a public street or highway is illegal. Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a phone at all, even with hands-free technology, unless they are calling their parents. While other forms of distracted driving may not be explicitly outlawed, a distracted driver is more likely to drive recklessly and/or violate other traffic laws by speeding, running a red light, or following too closely.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence
Motorists who drive while distracted have breached their duty to operate their vehicle safely. When a driver fails to pay attention to the road and causes an accident, the victims of the accident can file a negligence claim against the distracted driver to recover damages for the injuries they suffered. If you were injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, a personal injury attorney can help you collect and present the evidence you need to prove your case.