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Mon April 8, 2013
NCDOT Says Zombies A Hazard on NC Roadways
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says zombies are becoming a serious problem on the state's roadways.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh found that use of a cellphone while driving reduces the brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. And, NCDOT says, with a third of drivers' brains not focused on the road, it virtually turns them into zombies. Since April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, NCDOT went with the zombie theme, as Department spokeswoman Dara Demi explained.
"We did produce, inside our own DOT Communications Office, two public service announcements that showcase exactly the point that we're trying to get across," Demi told WFDD News, "That when you use a phone when you're behind the wheel, you are basically turning yourself into a zombie. And so we had staff and family members of staff members in our office put on makeup, become zombies, and help us illustrate the point that when you're behind the wheel, using a phone, you're basically becoming a zombie and there's no way you could be a very effective driver."
And it is a serious problem. Last year in North Carolina, 904 crashes occurred in which it was determined that an electronic device such as a cellphone was a contributing factor. Those included two fatalities, and 276 injuries. To clarify the point, Dara Demi explained what's legal, and what's not.
"North Carolina state law bans all drivers from texting while they're driving, and if any driver is caught texting, reading a text message while they're driving, they will face a fine of a hundred dollars plus court fees of at least 130 dollars," she said. "As far as talking on a cellphone, current North Carolina state law says that all drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using cellphones while driving, except for in the instance of an emergency, when they might have to dial 9-1-1. If they are caught talking on the phone while they are driving, they have to pay a fine of 25 dollars."
The only other North Carolina motorists prohibited from any cell phone use while driving are school bus drivers.