Each year, many of us participate in the tradition of making resolutions for the new year. One of the most important resolutions you can make this year is to refrain from texting while driving. Drivers who text while operating a motor vehicle are significantly more likely to be involved in a serious North Carolina traffic accident. If drivers can resolve to put their conversations on hold while they are in the car, North Carolina will be a safer place for everyone.
North Carolina Traffic Accidents
In 2015, there were more than 267,000 traffic accidents in the state of North Carolina. At least 1,440 people were killed and another 130,000 suffered serious injuries in these accidents. According to the North Carolina DMV, approximately 20 percent of these accidents were caused by distracted drivers. Texting while driving is on the of the most commonly cited distracted driving behaviors.
Dangers of Texting and Driving
When you divert your eyes from the road, even for a moment, you put yourself and others at an increased risk of harm. Drivers who do are not paying attention to the road are more likely to:
- Run through stop signs and traffic signals;
- Weave between lanes; and
Drivers who text are also less likely to see pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists sharing the road. When your eyes are trained on your phone, rather than your surroundings, the chances of causing a serious accident are much greater.
Liability for Texting and Driving
When you decide to get behind the wheel you assume a responsibility to exercise a certain level of care. This responsibility requires that you obey posted traffic laws and operate the vehicle safely. In North Carolina, the standard of care for drivers is determined by considering what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances. Since texting while a motor vehicle is in motion is actually against the law in North Carolina, a reasonable person would not text and drive. As a result, if you text and drive you will probably be considered negligent under North Carolina law. You can be held financially responsible for harm when your negligence contributes to an injury-causing accident.
North Carolina law follows the theory of contributory fault. This prevents injured accident victims from recovering compensation if they contribute to the cause of their accident. This means that if you are injured in an accident while you are texting you may not be able to recover the compensation you would otherwise deserve. This is true even if the other driver who caused your accident is almost entirely responsible for causing your accident. Any amount of fault on your part would prevent you from recovering much-needed compensation. This compensation could go a long way to paying for your accident-related medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.
Resolve to Drive Safely
Start the new year off by resolving to put your phone down while you are behind the wheel of a car. Traffic accidents are much more likely to occur when drivers are distracted. Texting while driving can not only put you and others at an increased risk of harm, but can also limit your ability to recover much-needed compensation in the event of a crash. Want to learn more? Call the car accident attorneys at Caulder & Valentine today.