Distracted driving crashes up by 70 percent, NC troopers say

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — One after another highway crashes are adding to a deadly statistic.

It’s a statistic Ronda Jonhson’s daughter is now a part of.

“Feels like a dream, ” said Johnson.

Her daughter, Corena Johnson, 19, died in a crash on I-85 in Orange County on Thursday.

Passenger Kelleigh Shropshire, 19, also died in the wreck, which is one of 914 deadly crashes in North Carolina this year.

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“It’s like if there’s really a God, how could he actually do this, my brain can’t even process,” said Johnson.

That’s more than 900 families feeling the same way, but despite that number, state troopers say deadly crashes for the year are down by 8 percent.

They say there’s one reason behind the crashes that is skyrocketing.

“The biggest one I’m seeing that we’re battling, and it’s kinda hard to count, is distracted driving,” said Trooper Robert Mellott of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Mellott says crashes caused by distracted driving is up 70 percent.

That increase is the reason he says troopers are trying to be pro-active.

“We try to look at the areas where the wrecks are happening and then we try to look at the manpower we have, and we try to look at putting the manpower by past experience. We try to put it where we can best predict where it may occur,” said Mellott.

Mellott says they’re trying to educate drivers, so more don’t become a part of the statistic.

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