A teenage driver is facing misdemeanor charges after killing her passenger in an North Carolina car crash. Reports indicate the at-fault driver was texting while driving. According to the NC Highway Patrol, the passenger died at the intersection of Old Highway 87 and Fertilizer Plant Road.
The driver, age 16, failed to yield, and it turned out was texting while driving. Texting while driving became illegal in North Carolina on December 1, 2009. The law says a vehicle must be in park before a driver may send a text.
The passenger who died attended Roger Bacon Academy. His classmates were upset they lost a friend. Final goodbyes to the passenger must have been difficult at the funeral at Riegelwood Baptist Church in North Carolina (NC).
Our deepest sympathies go out to the victim's family. Losing someone you love is never easy, but is especially devastating when they are taken from you in a sudden, preventable car crash.
A Consumer Reports study on mobile device use, which includes texting while driving, for drivers under age 30, revealed:
- 63 percent used a handheld cell phone while driving in the past 30 days
- 30 percent texted while driving in the past 30 days
- 36 percent were concerned with distracted driving, and 30 percent thought using a cell phone while driving was dangerous
- 58 percent saw a dangerous situation because of distracted driving in the last 30 days
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving killed almost 5,000 people and injured close to half a million people in 2009. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found texting while driving dramatically increases the chance of a major accident which could lead to a serious injury.
Car accidents are the leading cause of US teenager deaths, with one in three teen deaths on the road. According to Centers for Disease Control, drivers aged 15-24 make up $26 billion in vehicle injuries, though only about 14 percent of drivers are aged 15-24.
Today, 30 states ban texting while driving. In North Carolina, a driver texting can be pulled over for that reason alone. Law enforcement officers in North Carolina issued 71 tickets to drivers for texting in 2009.
For more information, download our free consumer report on distracted driving.