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What counts as distracted driving?

You may have heard law enforcement officials talking about distracted driving and the ways that they've cracked down. You may also have heard statistics, such as the fact that 3,154 people died in car accidents in 2013 that were connected to distracted drivers. Even more were injured, with the total coming in right around 424,000.

Either way, you can tell that this is serious, but perhaps you're not quite sure what distracted driving really is. You know you shouldn't text while you drive, but does it encompass anything else? According to government sources, it absolutely does, as all of the following can be distractions:

-- Using a cellphone for any purpose, including just making a call.-- Using a smartphone to take pictures, surf the web, check email and more.- Drinking and eating—even when it doesn't involve alcohol—while driving.-- Talking to the other people in your car.-- Putting on makeup or otherwise grooming yourself and preparing for the day.-- Reading anything, including a road map.-- Turning on a GPS navigation system, putting in a destination or using the system in any other way.-- Using a phone, tablet or other device to watch a video.-- Putting in a CD or hooking up or turning on an MP3 player.-- Turning on or adjusting the radio.

These experts do warn that texting gets the most press because it is so widespread, and therefore, perhaps the most dangerous. However, it's important to know that there are many ways that distractions can show up, and those who are injured by these drivers can seek compensation in North Carolina.

Source: distraction.gov, "Facts and Statistics," accessed Nov. 04, 2015

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