In 2015 there were at least 263.6 million passenger vehicles registered in the United States. This makes the United States the second largest passenger vehicle market of any country in the world. It is no wonder that the third leading cause of deaths in the United States is “accidents” or unintentional injuries. Granted, not all these deaths are caused by motor vehicle accidents, but a huge amount of them are.
The National Safety Council released their preliminary numbers for motor vehicle accident related deaths. In 2016 approximately 40,000 people nationwide died as a result of a motor vehicle accident. This includes those who passed away within 30 days of the accident. These numbers are alarming and represent an increase of 6% of the deaths reported in 2015 and an astounding 14% from those reported in 2014.
Increasing deaths due to motor vehicle accidents are also true for North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) ranks North Carolina Fifth in the Nation for traffic fatalities. NCDOT records show that in 2015, 1,385 people were killed in crashes that occurred in North Carolina. That number grew to more than 1,400 in 2016.
There is no wonder why these numbers are skyrocketing. A survey showed that 64% of drivers are comfortable speeding and 47% are comfortable texting either manually or through voice controls. Performing these tasks while driving usually leads to veering off the roads or being unable to stop in time.
Each driver can prevent these accidents from happening by refraining to perform distracting activities while driving. Notwithstanding, since this is not happening, the States are getting involved. Currently, there is a proposed legislation under consideration of the North Carolina legislature to address one of the biggest distractors, the cellphone. Senate Bill 364, if approved and signed, would penalize those drivers that use their cellphones without a hands-free device. Violators will be fined with up to $200.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that up to 660,000 drivers are using cellphones while driving. Public service campaigns are targeting those drivers to encourage them to stop using their cellphones or performing other distracting activities while driving. At this time all these efforts seem to be fruitless, as we continue to see drivers taking selfies, snapchatting streaming facebook-live footage, or even instagraming while driving.
It is encouraged from all of us that each driver refrains from these activities so we can enjoy safer roadways. If you or your loved ones have been injured by a distracted driver, seek legal assistance to navigate the claims and obtain fair compensation.