CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Despite strict laws against the use of cell phones while driving, people continue to drive distracted. A group has crunched the numbers and has ranked where all 50 states sit when it comes to distracted driving.
The good news is North and South Carolina are not among the most dangerous states, but they also aren’t among the safest. Before getting in the car and behind the wheel, have you ever wondered how many distracted drivers you may encounter? At times they can be easy to spot.
“You pull up to a stoplight and they are constantly just doing this,” said driver, Mike Warr, who was motioning with his hands drivers texting.
The biggest distracted driving offenders are those using cell phones. Those drivers are often oblivious to what’s happening.
“When you’re around Charlotte and traffic is backed up already and then someone is in front of you and you sit there and see somebody go and there is a gap of about 400 feet. You’re sitting there waiting and thinking hurry up, get out of the way,” said Warr.
Whistle Out, a company focused on helping people find cell phone plans, ranked all 50 states for distracted driving. New Mexico is ranked 50th for the most distracted drivers. Number one is Arkansas for the least distracted driving incidents. North Carolina ranks right in the middle at 23, while South Carolina is 34th.
The 2021 rankings are based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a national survey of drivers about distracted driving. The NHTSA says that in 2019 more than 3,100 drivers were killed because of distracted driving. As many drivers have experienced, distracted driving can be wide-ranging, reaching far beyond cell phone use.
“Even make up. My friend I was in the car with her and I saw her pull down her little mirror and she started doing her makeup and it’s kinda distracting,” said driver, Madeline Landry.
Her response to her friend at that time is a good reminder for all drivers.
“Drive safe. Stop texting and driving. Stop doing your makeup,” said Landry.
In North Carolina, it is not illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. A bill that would make it illegal was set aside in Raleigh earlier this year.