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Dropped Cellphone Leads to Serious NC Crash

A dropped cellphone was the apparent cause of a rear-end collision that resulted in three people being airlifted to UNC Hospital, according to a report from ABC11.com. On November 24, 2016, a Honda was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 64 and Route 751 when a Subaru plowed into the vehicle from behind. The Honda driver, Mauricio Amado Perez, 35, of Siler City, was taken to UNC, treated and released. Three of the Honda’s passengers, Mario Perez Vasquez, Elias Perez, and Jesus Perez Vasquez, were airlifted to UNC in critical condition. The driver of the Subaru, Matthew Clark Willis, 30, of Raleigh, was not hurt.

If further investigation confirms the reported cause — the driver, Mr. Willis failed to control his vehicle while he was reaching for a dropped cellphone — this crash would certainly be a graphic example of the dangers of distracted driving. These tragic accidents may be avoidable if only motorists would concentrate on the task of driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report on distracted driving in April 2016. Analyzing data from 2014, NHTSA found:

  • Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2014 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • In 2014, there were 520 nonoccupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.

North Carolina does not prohibit handheld cellphone use, except for school bus drivers and drivers under 18 years of age. The state does prohibit texting while driving.

As attorneys concerned about road safety, we hope the public takes note of this accident and that individual drivers consider the consequences whenever they are tempted to use a cellphone behind the wheel.

If you are injured in an auto accident in Virginia, North Carolina or South Carolina, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is ready to put more than 200 years of combined legal experience to work for you. Call us at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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