NC's Four Most Dangerous Drivers: Drunk, Drugged, Drowsy and Distracted

NC's Four Most Dangerous Drivers Drunk, Drugged, Drowsy and Distracted
By Kimberly BishopJuly 15, 2019,

Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of a NC drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted driver? The Bishop Law Firm represents clients in North Carolina who have been hurt or injured in a car wreck, and we do not get paid unless you win your case.

The act of driving a vehicle is inherently risky. Each time a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are taking multiple lives into their hands. One would think this would lead to individuals making safe, conscious decisions before and while they are driving. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This blog addresses NC's four most dangerous drivers: drunk, drugged, drowsy, and distracted.

Drunk Drivers

One person died every 48 minutes because of a drunk driving crash in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Chillingly, in 2017, drunk driving collisions claimed the lives of 220 children aged 14 and under.

In North Carolina, it is illegal for an individual over the age of 21 to operate a private motor vehicle while “noticeably impaired” or with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08g/dL or higher. If the individual is under the age of 21, or the operator of a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor trailer, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.00g/dL or higher.

Drugged Drivers

12.8 million individuals drove under the influence of illicit drugs in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Just because a driver is impaired on a drug does not necessarily mean it was illegal. Some prescription medications, including opioids, amphetamines, or benzodiazepines, can cause varying impairments to cognitive functions. Often, these types of prescriptions carry labels that warn against the operation of heavy machinery – including vehicles – while taking the prescription.

In 2018, drugged drivers caused 94 fatalities and 224 serious injuries, according to NC Vision Zero, a state-wide program aimed at eliminating roadway deaths and injuries. The research into drug impaired driving is ongoing, and the NC Vision Zero hopes to build upon the current progress to develop a more well-rounded and complete analysis of the impact of drugged driving in our state.

Drowsy Drivers

Between 2011 and 2015, there were nearly 3,700 fatal crashes caused by drowsy driving. More than one out of 3 working Americans are sleep deprived, and losing two hours of sleep can have the same affect as drinking three beers. Scientific studies have shown that sleep deprivation results in slow reactions to stimuli, a decrease in the accuracy of responses, and can lead to long lapses in attention.

Drowsy driving can be especially harmful if the dozing driver is behind the wheel of a tractor trailer. It is not hard to imagine how a massive vehicle, such as a tractor trailer, can cause catastrophic destruction when driven by a sleep-deprived individual.

Distracted Drivers

Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from operating their vehicle, including texting, talking, eating, and/or messing with the stereo, meets the definition of distracted driving. 3,166 people were killed by a distracted driver in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In North Carolina alone, over 43,000 motor vehicle accidents were the result of distracted driving in 2020, according to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Texting is one of the most dangerous form of distracted driving plaguing our roads, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013 report to Congress. In North Carolina, texting while driving is illegal. Nevertheless, 1,186 crashes that occurred in North Carolina in 2020 cited a driver’s distraction by an electronic communication device as a contributing factor.

Though the statistics are alarming, the most devastating fact is that every collision caused by a drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted driver is 100% preventable. The rise in ride sharing applications, such as Uber and/or Lyft, make alternate transportation even more available.

Here at The Bishop Law Firm, we offer compassionate, professional, and effective legal representation to our clients. We provide free case evaluations for individuals who have been hurt in a car accident because of an unsafe driver. We represent those in Raleigh, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids, and beyond in North Carolina. Call us at (919) 615-3095 to have an attorney review your case – for free!

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