Archive for the ‘Texting While driving’ Category

Penalties for Texting While Driving

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risks of texting while drivingA 13-month-old North Carolina girl was killed in a Christmas day car wreck that police originally thought was caused by texting and driving.

Originally, police in Wadesboro charged the girl’s father with texting and driving, alleging he sent a text message saying “Merry Christmas” just moments before the crash that killed his daughter and seriously injured his wife and two others.

Later, the police investigation revealed the father did not send a text message, though he did receive one near the time of the crash. There’s no evidence he looked at the message while driving.

When news of the charges first broke, many people took to social media and said the police were too harsh in charging the grieving father in the accident that took his daughter’s life.

We want to know what you think about the legal consequences and penalties for texting while driving.

Scientific students — and countless fatal accidents — have proven that texting (and even talking on the phone) distracts drivers’ attention. In fact, some studies show texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking while driving.

North Carolina is one of 41 states (and the District of Columbia) with laws against texting while driving.

Depending on the state and the severity of the infraction, the penalties for texting while driving range from a ticket or fine to jail time.

  • Monetary fines- these can range from as low as $20 up to $500 depending on the state
  • Criminal charges- in some states texting while driving can result in criminal misdemeanor charges (Class B or C)
  • Jail or prison time- if the offense has resulted in bodily injury to another driver, jail or prison time may be imposed

Source: LegalMatch

In N.C. you can be fined from $25 to $100 for texting while driving, depending on your age. Bus drivers who are caught texting while driving face a $100 fine and a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. However, you won’t get points on your license or face increased insurance premiums for texting while driving violations.

Given the serious danger texting while driving presents to motorists and those who share the roads with them, do you think the penalties for texting while driving are severe enough?

Should penalties for texting while driving match those for driving under the influence?

In N.C., DUI penalities are much stricter and include loss of driving privileges, fines ranging from $200 to $10,000, jail time and substance abuse assessment and treatment.


Risky Driving: Hands-Free Devices Don’t Make You Safer on the Road

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A new AAA study of distracted driving confirms that using hands-free devices to make phone calls or send text messages while driving isn’t safe at all.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, AAA found that using these devices contributes to drivers’ mental distraction and inattention to the roadway, causing them to have slowed reaction time and to miss things like traffic signs, other vehicles and pedestrians on the roadway.

According to coverage in USA Today, this form of distracted driving is as dangerous as texting while driving, a behavior we’ve warned you about before: 

“The increasingly popular voice-activated, in-car technologies that allow drivers to text, talk on the phone or even use Facebook while driving still allow for dangerous mental distraction, according to a study.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind to look at drivers’ mental distraction, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, and drivers scan the road less and miss visual clues, researchers say. This could potentially result in drivers being unable to see items right in front of them, such as stop signs or pedestrians.”

If you use Siri on the iPhone, a bluetooth headset or a built-in device in your car to make phone calls, send text messages or even check and post to Facebook, please reconsider.

Engaging in other activities while driving can have deadly consequences.

AAA distracted driving risks

Illustration via AAA

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2011, and an estimated 387,000 more were injured.
  • 10 percent of fatal crashes and 17 percent of injury crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • 11 Percent of all drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatalcrashes werereported as “distracted” at the time of the crash; this age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. 
  • Drivers text messaging behind the wheel are eight times as likely to be in a crash or near crash as drivers who are not texting.
  • When conversing on mobile devices, either hand-held or hands-free, drivers increase their risk of a crash two to four times 

The best solution is to turn off your phone while you’re in the car — or put it well out of reach. Those calls and messages can wait until you’re not behind the wheel.