Deadly North Carolina car accident caused by woman posting to Facebook

On April 24, a 32-year-old North Carolina woman lost her life in a fatal motor vehicle accident. While every death on the highway is a tragedy, this one in particular grabbed national headlines for a troubling reason.

The woman had crossed the center line and collided head-on with a truck. Initially, investigators were puzzled as to the cause of the accident, as tests for drugs and alcohol were negative and evidence indicated that speeding had not been a factor. But then, tips began to come in from friends of the woman who was killed.

Apparently, just one minute before police received a call reporting the crash that took her life, the driver had made a posting to her Facebook wall concerning the popular Pharrell Williams song "Happy." The posting said, "The happy song makes me HAPPY!" Police say that further investigation revealed that the driver had also previously posted "selfies" from behind the wheel.

Despite the dangers, social media use behind the wheel is relatively widespread

This case is just the latest example of a trend that has dangerous implications for roadway safety. By now, the dangers of texting while driving have been well documented, but an equally dangerous practice is social media use behind the wheel.

Hashtags like #drivingtowork, #drivingselfie and #drivingselfies have become increasingly popular for social media users who take self portraits of themselves behind the wheel. The Huffington post recently reported that there are over three million Instagram photos posted under driving-related hashtags.

North Carolina has a law that bans texting behind the wheel for all drivers. But does it apply to social media use? The law says drivers cannot operate a vehicle and simultaneously use a mobile telephone to "[m]annually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person." Entering the Facebook post that likely caused the recent fatal accident seems like a clear violation of the law, as it was a string of text. The legality of posting content to social media that consists of nothing but a picture while driving is murkier, although the behavior is still obviously highly distracting for drivers.

Harmed by a distracted driver? A North Carolina lawyer can help you get compensation

Whether a distracting behavior was a technical violation of the law or not, if it causes a car accident, the driver responsible (or his or her insurer) can be held accountable for resulting damages. In the case of social media use, the evidence of distracted driving can be particularly easy to obtain if the responsible driver posted to a public or widely available profile in the moments preceding an accident.

If you have been harmed by a distracted driver, or if you have lost a loved one to distracted driving, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Get in touch with a North Carolina car accident lawyer today to ensure you get the full, fair compensation to which you are entitled.