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Everyone knows that distracted driving is a major public safety crisis in North Carolina. According to the state Department of Transportation (NCDOT), in 2018, distracted driving was a factor in more than 54,000 car accidents. More than 120 people were killed, and more than 24,000 were injured in those wrecks.

Fueled largely by drivers using their cellphones behind the wheel, distracted driving has been a menace on the state’s roads and highways for years. So what have lawmakers done about it?

North Carolina’s anti-distracted driving law

Relatively little. Though North Carolina has banned texting and driving, state law still lets drivers who are over 18 hold their cellphone in their hand and use it while driving. Obviously, this makes enforcing the texting ban difficult, since police often cannot tell what a passing motorist is doing with their phone.

Many states have banned handheld cellphone use by motorists. Last year, a bill in the state House would have added North Carolina to the list, but the bill did not pass. Meanwhile, states like Tennessee and Georgia have joined the growing number of states that do not allow handheld cellphone use behind the wheel.

The effects of distracted driving

Studies have proven the effect that cellphones and other distractions have on drivers. A distracted driver has reduced reaction times and impaired judgment. The effect is similar to drinking and driving. As a result, a distracted driver is much more likely to crash into another vehicle, a bicyclist or pedestrian.

A driver may not be breaking the law if they talk or watch a video on their phone. But if they injure you in an auto accident because of it, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation for things like your lost wages, cost of health care, and pain and suffering. To get your rightful compensation, you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.