What Happened: Reporting on abclocal.go.com, the Associated Press explains that a Court of Appeals in North Carolina has permitted Chapel Hill, N.C. to begin enforcing its ban on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. The ban was earlier blocked by a trial judge after a tow truck operator argued he needed to use his phone while working; the appeals court allowed that the ban permitted calls from parked cars. The offense is only secondary, with officers only able to cite drivers for cell phone use if they’ve been pulled over for another violation. The fine would be $25.
Cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle---be it text messaging or even just talking---can lead to terrible accidents. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) determined that cell phone use reduces reaction times by about 20%, or 1/5; that is to say, if you have five seconds to respond to an accident, talking on a cell phone will knock off a full second of your response time. Given that such short times are crucial during an accident, the effects can be disastrous, injurious and even fatal. Motorists who regularly use cell phones for any reason while driving automobiles should seriously consider putting the mobile device down until you arrive at your destination—chances are good that the text message you’re responding to, or the phone call you want to answer, can wait just a little while until you get where you’re going, and you may avoid serious accidents, injuries and fatalities to both yourself, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Distracted driving, in general, is a serious problem; from texting, to talking to passengers, to applying makeup, there are countless distractions in motor vehicles that can lead to car crashes. The injury attorneys at our personal injury law firm in North Carolina have authored a free, in-depth guide explaining the most common forms, and dangers, of distracted driving; you can click here to download it.