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Distracted Drivers

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Courtney Sanford's vehicle
Courtney Sanford’s vehicle

A thirty-two year old North Carolina woman, who police say was posting selfies and a Facebook status while driving, died after crashing into a truck on a North Carolina highway. Courtney Ann Sanford, 32, got into the fatal wreck last Thursday morning in High Point, N.C., according to reports.

Investigators have determined that Sanford wrote a Facebook status from her cell phone about “Happy” by Pharrell Williams a minute before they received a 911 call. “The happy song makes me HAPPY,” her post reportedly read.

Her car crossed the road’s median and slammed into the truck, catching on fire. The truck hit a tree, but its 73-year-old driver was uninjured.

This incident should serve as wake up call for those drivers who use Facebook while driving or text while driving.

  • In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421 ,000 were injured in distraction affected crashes. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, VTTI)
  • As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association)
  • The average text read or typing is 4.6 seconds. Just three seconds of texting while driving at 65 mph is equal to driving 100 yards, or the length of a football field, blindfolded. (VTTI–Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the California Office of Traffic Safety)
  • Engaging in visual – manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand – held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times (VTTI – Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, VTTI)

While the other driver involved in this accident walked away uninjured, many drivers are not nearly as lucky.  Many suffer catastrophic injuries that require hospitalization and/or other medical care.  Juries have began to punish drivers who fail to stop because of distractions.  A recent study was performed that showed juries award nearly as much damages to a plaintiff injured by a driver who was texting or on their phone as a DUI driver.  If you have been injured in an auto accident by a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation.