Articles Posted in texting while driving

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The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. is proud to announce their upcoming scholarship program aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of texting behind the wheel. We will be giving away $2,500 in the form of five $500 scholarships. The scholarships will be available to students and teachers at several public schools within the Asheville community. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must submit a plan to educate their peers and community members about the dangers associated with texting and driving.

How do I Apply?

The scholarship application is available on our website. Applicants must write an essay including their reason for wanting to participate in the program, a detailed step-by-step description of their plan and its implementation, the projected timeline for the plan and explain why the scholarship money is needed and how it will be used. The five students and/or teachers who have the best plans to raise awareness about texting and driving in the community will be awarded the scholarships. Interested applicants will have until October 15, 2015 to apply.

Who is Eligible?

Students and teachers from the following schools are eligible to apply.

  • Evergreen Community Charter School
  • Isaac Dickson Elementary School
  • Jones Elementary School
  • Enka Middle School
  • Enka High School
  • Asheville Middle School
  • Asheville High School
  • TC Roberson High School
  • Reynolds High School
  • Owen High School
  • UNC- Asheville
  • AB- Technical Community College

Our Dedication to Ending Texting While Driving Accidents

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sees firsthand how devastating and traumatic texting and driving accidents are in our community. We’ve been reporting on distracted driving issues, with a special emphasis on texting while driving, regularly on our blog. We believe an important component to reducing injury-causing and fatal texting while driving accidents in Asheville starts with education and raising awareness.

Distracted driving and texting while driving aren’t just problems in other parts of the country. Last year, WLOS ABC News Channel 13 reported on the distracted driving epidemic in Asheville. Our scholarship program is aimed at educating young people, drivers, future drivers and community members about the dangers associated with texting behind the wheel. We can’t wait to see the plans our applicants come up with, and we’re looking forward to fewer distracted drivers on Asheville roadways.

You can learn more about our scholarship program and get the application here.

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Cell phone map.jpegOnly four states in the U.S. currently ban cell phone use while driving. Florida appears ready to join the list, as the newest version of a bill banning all cell phone use while driving has just been filed. North Carolina will probably not be joining that list anytime soon.

Last year, during the 2011-2012 Legislative sessions, Garland Pierce, Democrat-Scotland, introduced a bill banning all cell phone use. The bill encountered significant opposition while it was in committee, most notably from Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger. Several committee members remarked that they felt the bill infringed on citizens’ rights. What they could not articulate was which specific rights they felt the bill might be infringing upon. That outcry was enough to effectively kill the bill, as Representative Pierce withdrew the bill, rather than have it die a slow death in committee.

One town in North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has shown some independent responsibility by banning all cell phone use within the town’s city limits. That sounds pretty strong, but the law had so many loopholes that it was really just a symbolic law aimed at spurring the North Carolina Legislature to act responsibly and pass a stronger state law restricting cell phone use. The Chapel Hill law was over-turned by a Superior Court Judge in August in a ruling that found the town ordinance was preempted by the current state law that limits cell phone use while driving.
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texting-while-driving 6-8-12.jpg The recently released results from a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) establishes what most safety experts had already suspected: teenagers are still texting while driving, despite knowing the risks.

The study found that one-third of high school students admitted they had texted or emailed while driving within the previous 30 days. The study gathered information from approximately 15,000 high school student across the United States.

High school seniors reported the highest percentage of the dangerous activity. About 43 percent of 11th graders and 58 percent of 12th graders admitted texting or emailing while driving in the 30 days prior to the study.
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cell control device.jpgYou’ve heard the statistics: nearly 6000 dead and over 500,000 injured. The death and destruction on our roads continues, and at a recent safety summit in Washington, D.C., the experts are blaming cell phones.

A device at the recent 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), received a big award for stopping texting while driving.

A company called “Scosche” introduced CellControl. The electronic device plugs into a computer port in your car and after downloading an app to your, or your child’s, smartphone, it restricts cell phone use if the vehicle is moving.
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texting-while-driving.jpgA sobering study by Consumer Reports regarding mobile device use for drivers under the age of 30 recently found that of those surveyed:

63% used a cell phone while driving in the last 30 days;

30% texted while driving in the past 30 days;

Only 36 % were very concerned with distracted driving;

Only 30% thought using a cell phone while driving was very dangerous; and
58% saw a dangerous situation because of distracted driving in the last 30 days.

Consumer Reports released this data just as it is beginning a joint public services campaign with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The campaign aims to bring awareness of the dangers of distracted driving to young people.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving injured almost half a million people in 2009, and killed nearly 5,500. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that dialing a phone makes it six times more likely to get into an accident, while texting while driving multiplies the chance of an accident by 23.
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cell phones prohibited.jpgWith the epidemic of texting while driving causing more and more serious crashes, injuries and deaths, the North Carolina Legislature is taking up the issue of a total ban of cell phones while driving a motor vehicle. North Carolina Lawyers Weekly covered the story this week.

Representatives Garland Pierce, D-Hoke, and Charles Graham, D-Robeson, filed the bill to ban cell phone use while driving on February 2, 2011. The bill is known as H. 31 and is titled, “An act to make using a mobile phone unlawful while driving a motor vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area.” The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.

The bill basically bans any use of a cell phone, even via blue tooth hands-free technology, while one is operating a motor vehicle. This ban would include school bus drivers. The only exception under the new bill would be in the case of an emergency.

The penalty for violating the proposed new law would be a $100 fine and no insurance points.
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With public attention focused on decreasing the use of cell phones in cars, by both teenage drivers and adults as well, data from the most recent studies indicate the danger continues to grow. The number of serious crashes and deaths caused by distracted driving certainly continues to increase. While almost every state has passed laws that make it illegal to send or receive text and/or email messages while driving, these laws have proved ineffective at stopping the dangerous behavior. The latest numbers show that almost 6000 people are dying each year from car crashes caused by distracted driving.

There are two basic problems with the current approach, first enforcement is difficult for police officers because it is not illegal to dial a cellphone while driving, so identifying someone who is actually texting while driving is all but impossible unless the officer observes a driver weaving all over the road, then pulls the driver over, asks them if they were texting or emailing, and the driver actually admits to the illegal activity. According to court records reviewed by the Associated Press, this process has resulted in approximately 1200 people receiving tickets under the “texting ban” in North Carolina since the law went into effect in December of 2009. The second problem is that many drivers fail to appreciate the deadly danger.

Studies that have interviewed teens and adults find that most people who text while driving feel that they can text and also drive safely. They feel that they can look away from the road and still keep their car under control. This is a naive attitude at best. As this author has asserted in prior posts, education is the key to solving his social epidemic.

The Distracted Driving Safety Alliance (DDSA) is taking steps to gather and educate individuals and organizations from all across society to find ways to curb all behaviors that distract teens and adults alike. Educating all drivers about the “best practices” for driving is something the the DDSA is trying to accomplish. Here are the DDSA’s best practices for new drivers:

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chocowinity-teen-killed-in-accident.jpgAnother North Carolina teenager has tragically died as a result of texting while driving. WITN news just reported that yesterday afternoon at 3:42pm, Sarah Edwards appears to have glanced down at her cell phone to read a text message. That distraction caused her Honda Accord to drift across the yellow line into the on-coming lane where it struck the rear tandems of a tractor-trailer logging truck. She died instantly. The collision occurred on Chandler Road in Beaufort County. Her cell phone records show that she read a text message one minute before the first of several 911 calls were placed reporting the collision.

Ms. Edwards, 18 of Chocowinity, was a senior at Southside High School in Washington. Her funeral is this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pamlico Memorial Gardens in Washington.

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distracted driving.jpgDistracted driving is killing teenagers at an alarming rate. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been on a rampage against distracted driving by teens for more than a year, but studies show that distracted driving by teens continues despite teenagers’ knowledge of its dangers. Last month, teenage drivers nationwide pledged to take two seconds to turn off their cell phones and other wireless devices before driving a motor vehicle. These pledges were part of a National Two-Second Turnoff Day sponsored by AAA, Seventeen and the US Department of Transportation. A recent survey by AAA and the popular teen magazine Seventeen showed that nearly 9 our of 10 teen drivers have driven while distracted, even though almost 85% of them know its dangerous.

The key to stopping distracted driving is not telling teen drivers how dangerous it is, that is just preaching to the choir. They all know how dangerous it is, but they do not think anything bad could happen to them. Education on this topic must involve and engage teenagers. The below video is a great place to start this education:

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facebook juror.jpgA young female juror near Detroit will face a contempt of court hearing this coming Thursday. Her crime? She defied a judge’s Order that she not discuss the case on which she was sitting – a criminal trial against a 40-year-old Clinton Township resident charged with a misdemeanor and a felony for resisting arrest. Hadley Jons, 20 of Macomb County, Michigan, received the same warning as all of the other jurors chosen to hear the criminal trial. But, apparently, she was the only juror to post her thoughts about which way she would vote on Facebook.

On Facebook, Jons wrote that she was “actually excited for jury duty tomorrow. It’s gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re GUILTY. :P.”

The defense lawyer’s son, Jaxon Goodman, found the post on-line on August 11th. The defendant’s lawyer, Saleema Sheikh, informed the judge before court the next morning. The judge then questioned Jon’s if she had posted anything about the case on Facebook. She originally denied it, but then she reportedly put her face down and failed to answer when the judge read the post out-loud in open court.
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