Distracted driving is a major threat to road safety and there is no bigger distraction than cell phones. Far too many people are texting behind the wheel of a vehicle and the results can be disastrous. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we represent victims who have been injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

North Carolina has tried to address the dangers of distracted driving by making it illegal to text while driving. The law is considered a primary law, which means that a police officer can stop a driver without any other reason if they suspect that driver is engaged in texting and driving.

Despite that law, on any given day, countless motorists are driving with one hand on the wheel and the other hand clutching a cell phone. Below, our personal injury lawyers identify why texting and driving is so risky.

Texting Delays Brake Onset

When drivers text, they have their eyes on their cell phone — not on the road. Consequently, they will not see anything that may be in their way, such as a pedestrian crossing the street, or another vehicle stopped at an intersection.

One study found that reaction times increased about 30 percent while texting, compared to 9 percent when speaking on the phone. Another study found that texting slowed reaction times even more than being legally intoxicated, proving the imminent danger this habit can pose on the driver and those around them.

Drifting Across Lanes Increases

When a person is not looking at the road, their chances of drifting into oncoming traffic increases significantly. Again, this is not surprising. Try driving with your eyes closed — the odds are low that you will be able to stay in your lane for any length of time. A person reading or composing a text could easily get into a head-on collision by inadvertently drifting between lanes.

Driving with One Hand Is Risky

It is harder to take sudden, defensive action when a person is driving with only one hand on the wheel. For example, it is more challenging to turn the wheel a significant amount with one hand. Someone who is texting is using one hand to hold a phone, taking one hand away from the wheel and making it difficult to quickly pull back into their lane.

Attention Is Divided

A person’s ability to process information is slowed when they are focused on reading something or composing their own message. This is known as “attention blindness.” Thus, even if they see danger ahead, they may not mentally process what they are seeing. This phenomenon adds to delayed reaction times and inattention to road signs or signals.

Crashes Increase Dramatically

Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that accidents increase when people text and drive. One study found a four-fold increase in car accidents due to texting. Another revealed that texting while driving was six times as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Contact a Carolinas Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how focused we stay on the road, too many other drivers fail to pay attention. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, contact a seasoned North Carolina car accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the driver. Our legal team has successfully represented many accident victims and will use all available resources to get you the best settlement possible. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.