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Charlotte Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

Distracted Driving Accidents Are On The Rise

Charlotte Distracted Driver Accident Attorneys

Many people lose their lives every year due to distracted drivers. These can be pedestrians, passengers, other drivers, and the distracted drivers themselves. So far, in 2024, distracted driving has accounted for many fatal car accidents in the United States. If you have been in an accident because of distracted driving, contact a law firm with Charlotte distracted driver accident attorneys as soon as you can.

Texting while driving is a reckless activity that puts other people at risk. In North Carolina, it is also illegal. Unfortunately, drivers continue to use cell phones for texting, talking, browsing the Internet and other activities while navigating our streets and highways.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, one of our skilled Charlotte distracted driving accident attorneys can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler in Charlotte, North Carolina, our personal injury lawyers are committed to providing the exceptional personal injury representation that our clients need. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

North Carolina Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted Driver Accidents

In North Carolina, it is illegal to:

  • Read or send text messages while driving
  • Use a cellphone of any kind if you are a bus driver or novice driver

It is not illegal for most drivers to use cellphones while driving, nor is texting illegal while your vehicle is stopped. However, evidence of cellphone use can still be a factor in determining fault in a motor vehicle accident. Juries do not like it when distracted drivers cause accidents that injure or kill innocent people.

Our lawyers can obtain cellphone records, witness statements and other evidence to build the strongest possible case against the negligent driver.

Different Types of Distracted Driving

Texting and driving is only one small part of the all-encompassing problem of distracted driving, which is a leading cause of deaths on the roads every year. Any behavior taking place inside or outside the car that removes the driver’s attention from the road ahead is considered distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of distracted driving, all of which take away critical and necessary parts of our ability to drive:

  • Visual Distractions: These happen when our eyes are taken off the road for whatever reason. By not looking at the road ahead, our attention is elsewhere and the possibility of an accident increases by quite a bit.
  • Manual Distractions: These happen when our hands are taken off the steering wheel for any reason. If something happens inside the car that requires you to take your hand off the wheel, immediately pull the car over to the side of the road to deal with it. Another option, if possible, is to have someone else in the car deal with the situation while you focus on driving.
  • Cognitive Distractions: These are perhaps the most dangerous kind of distractions. These occur when our minds wander, and we are no longer focused on the fact that we are driving. Essentially, it is daydreaming while we are behind the wheel of a car and simply not noticing anything happening ahead of us. This is staggeringly dangerous and invites many possibilities of an accident.

Here are just a few other examples of behavior besides texting while driving that would qualify as distracted driving. Before engaging in any of these behaviors, you may want to consider the consequences:

  • Using a Cell Phone: Talking on the phone while driving is incredibly dangerous. It completely takes our focus away from the road and causes accidents every day. While North Carolina road safety laws may not completely outlaw the use of cell phones while driving, it is encouraged that you use hands-free devices instead. Hands-free devices come with their own set of dangers, but they do keep your hands on the wheel.
  • Eating and Drinking: Sometimes, we are in a hurry, and we don’t have time to sit down at home or in a restaurant and enjoy a meal. However, eating and drinking behind the wheel can cause accidents due to your focus being on the next bite and not on the road. If you’re holding a sandwich and a soft drink, it may be harder to react if someone ahead of you slams on their brakes for some reason. If you need to eat in your car, consider pulling over to the side of the road or sitting in a parking lot for the duration of your meal.
  • General Conversation: There is nothing wrong with talking to your passengers while driving, so long as you are able to maintain total focus on the road ahead. It would be impractical to always sit in total silence with your friends, loved ones, or whoever else is in your car. Carry on as you would anywhere else, but remember that you are still driving a car, and that should be your primary focus.
  • Grooming: You really shouldn’t be concerned with your appearance while you are driving. At some point, we’ve all worried about the state of our hair, whether we have a pimple or two on our face, or some other cosmetic situation. However, grooming while driving is never a good idea, and it could result in an accident due to your lack of focus on the road. If you absolutely need to handle a cosmetic emergency, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road first.
  • Playing With the Radio: Listening to a good song can turn a drive into an adventure, even a memory. However, the radio should not be your priority when you are driving. When you are playing with the radio and trying to find that perfect song, at least one of your hands is not on the wheel, and you may be visually distracted too. Let the music play and focus on the road in front of you.
  • GPS: GPS devices have made getting around so much easier since their inception. All we need to do is input our destination and listen carefully to the computer’s instructions. However, messing with the GPS while you are driving can be very distracting and could result in an accident. It’s better to just abide by the device’s directions or pull over if you need to adjust anything.
  • Road Rage: Road rage is very real. We’ve all experienced it before. Somebody cuts you off in traffic or refuses to let you into the adjacent lane. It can be infuriating, but it is important for us as civilized human beings to keep our emotions in check when we are behind the wheel of a car. If you find yourself in a road rage situation, let it go. That may be easier said than done, but letting road rage distract you can cause a much worse issue.
  • Reading: It should go without saying, but reading while driving is remarkably dangerous and should never be attempted, even if you are reading a map. Taking your eyes off the road and placing them on something as distracting as a book, magazine, or map is quite irresponsible and could lead to a major accident. If you need to look at a map, have a passenger be your navigator or pull over to figure out your route.

What Is the Law Regarding Distracted Driving?

North Carolina takes extra care to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from the threat of distracted driving. By enforcing certain laws and fining certain behaviors, the hope is that more people will be deterred from engaging in distracting behavior while driving, making the roads even just the slightest bit safer.

As the law states, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from any cell phone use behind the wheel. That includes texting and making phone calls. The only exception is if they need to call their parents while driving, but they are still encouraged to pull over to make that phone call.

It is illegal to text while driving, but it is legal to:

  • Receive or send a text while stopped at a red light.
  • Use headphones or headsets while driving.
  • Eat while driving, though it is strongly discouraged.

Primary vs. Secondary Enforcement

In North Carolina, there are primarily two different kinds of traffic law enforcement. Police officers are empowered to use these methods while protecting the state’s roads and highways:

  • Primary Enforcement: Primary enforcement of distracted driving laws means that if the police see you violating state law, they can immediately pull you over and give you a citation or arrest you, depending on the violation. This would mean texting while driving or having a non-hands-free phone call. North Carolina police officers largely stick to primary enforcement.
  • Secondary Enforcement: Secondary enforcement can be a little trickier. In these cases, police can only cite you for violating distracted driving laws if they witness you break another law first. Then, they can pull you over for breaking the first law, such as speeding or reckless driving, and give you extra charges for engaging in distracting behavior, too.

Distracted Driving Fines

The financial penalties for distracted driving in North Carolina can be a minor inconvenience or a hefty fine, depending on your financial situation when you are pulled over:

  • Using a cell phone while driving while under 18 years of age: $25
  • Using a cell phone while driving a school bus: $100
  • Texting while driving regardless of age: $100

These fees can be increased at the discretion of law enforcement if they believe that you were engaging in multiple distracted behaviors and putting others at risk willfully.

Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

  • Understand and Recognize the Risk: Distracted driving is not a minor issue. Thousands of people die every year thanks to distracted drivers. Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina and most other states. Recognizing the weight of the slightest decision can help you make the right choice every time.
  • Keep Your Phone Off: If you are unable to resist the temptation to check your texts, calls, and social media while driving, it might be a wise move to simply turn off your phone while you are behind the wheel. You can then turn it back on once you have arrived at your destination.
  • Be Prepared: Before you leave, have your GPS programmed for your destination and your music preselected and ready to go. This can limit distractions from the radio.
  • Stay Vigilant: Since you know the signs of distracted driving, you may be able to see other drivers engaging in them out on the road. Stay away from drivers who are drifting into other lanes or driving at inconsistent speeds. They may be on their phone or otherwise distracted. If you believe them to be a danger, notify law enforcement.

Get A Lawyer Experienced With Texting And Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a texting or otherwise distracted driver, trust your case to attorneys with a track record of success. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, call 704-594-4317 or contact us online.

We accept personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. We only collect attorney fees if we obtain compensation for you.

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