Cindy: Welcome to North Carolina Law TV. Today we’re going to talk about distracted driving and I have with me my guest David Daggett.

David: Thank you for having me.

Cindy: Thank you for being here David. Well, tell us about distracted driving. What is it exactly, and does it encompass more than just texting?

David: Well sure, the obvious thing to think of is cell phones these days or texting but it includes anything that takes your eyes off the road. Eating while you’re driving, fiddling with the radio while you’re driving, putting on lipstick while you’re driving. Anything other than just driving is distracted driving and it’s dangerous.

Cindy: And how common is it?

David: Oh, it’s very common. And we all do it. We all play with our radio. There’s degrees of it. If you get to using the cell phone and texting, that’s pretty bad. It’s interesting because scientific research, new brain science research shows that there’s no such thing as multi-tasking. Your brain can only do one thing at a time. Now, people say, well I can multi-task. They’re really not mulit-tasking, they’re sequentially doing different things very fast in sequence. But you can’t do multiple things at one time. If you’re doing anything other than driving, that’s distracted driving.

Cindy: Wow, that’s interesting.

David: I preach it to my daughters all the time. I bet you do and it’s scary. I’ll tell you the thing that’s scary is you’re going down the road and you get a buzz that you have a text. You take a look at the text and in the time it takes to look down at that text, you have traveled the length of a football field. We don’t know who is pulling out in front of us, what’s coming our way, whether there’s a red light, a stop sign. It happens that fast. This isn’t limited to young people either. The older people now, everybody has an iphone or a galaxy or something like that. And you’ve got to resist the urge. Put it away and do not do it. You’re familiar with our Stupid campaign.

Cindy: Yeah, I love it.

David: We have the bumper magnets. “Stupid, One Who Texts and Drives.” Because it really is. I don’t like that word – Stupid – but it really is. It’s not a smart thing to do. And we don’t realize that when you’re operating a motor vehicle, that that motor vehicle if you’re not paying attention, it turns into a missile of death. That’s what you have. And you have to be very, very serious about it. No fooling around while you’re driving. Pay attention to the road. They used to teach us, keep your hands at 10 and 2 and look straight forward. Well that’s pretty good advice.

Cindy: It is and I agree with you. What are the cell phone laws in North Carolina?

David: The cell phone laws in North Carolina aren’t very strict. You can’t text and drive, but you can talk on the cell phone in North Carolina. I wish they would make those laws stronger because we’ve all seen people driving down the road, and there’s somebody on the phone, and you simply cannot pay full attention. Interestingly recent brain research shows it doesn’t make any difference when you have a hand held or a no hands system for your cell phone, they both distract the brain from what you’re doing which is driving.

Cindy: Wow, equally as much?

David: Equally as much. I think we get lulled into a security of the hands free system. But, you know, and I guess I’ve got to plead guilty here, I’ve done it but how many times you’ve been on a hands free call, even just that one time and you look down the road and you don’t even know where you are.  And it’s a very, very scary thing.

Cindy: Yeah. Let me ask you this. If you are the victim of a car accident and you suspect the other person was on a cell phone, what do you do about that? And how does it factor into a case?

David: Well, how it factors into a case. I tell people that’s somebody else’s problem, and somebody else’s business. But certainly it’s an aggravating factor if you’re hurt by somebody who’s on a cell phone. Depending on what else is happening it can be a significant part of the case. It can also be significant for law enforcement, because they make a record of everything in the case and there’s ways to find that out through phone records and that sort of thing. Now, the case has to be economically feasible in order to go through the effort it takes to get somebody else’s cell phone records. But that can be a very important factor in a case.

Cindy: OK. David, how can they reach you if they have questions?

David: They can go to our website and you can search and find us pretty easily, or call us at 336-724-1234.

Cindy: Very good. Thanks for your time today.

David: Thanks for having me.

Cindy: Until next time, this is Cindy Speaker for North Carolina Law TV.