April marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the United States. This source of car accidents remains a pressing problem across the country, and South Carolina is no different. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Sources of Distraction for Motorists in 2019
Although there are more types of electronic devices in 2019 to divert our attention, the sources of distracted driving remain largely the same:
- Inattentiveness for any reason
- Talking on a cell phone, whether hands-free or handheld
- Texting, whether sending, reading, saving, opening, viewing, etc.
- Manipulating controls for the audio or other systems
- Conversing with passengers, especially emotional or absorbing conversations
- Reaching across seats or into the backseat to retrieve a fallen object
- Reaching into the backseat or turning around to break up a fight between children or attend to your children
- Eating, snacking and drinking
- Personal grooming, such as applying mascara or brushing your hair
- Replaying the day in your head, or thinking about some event that happened at work earlier, instead of focusing your concentration on the road
- Gazing out the window at scenery, pedestrians, an accident or anything else that captures your attention
As you can see, just about anything can be distracting. Anything that takes your mind, eyes and/or hands away from the task of driving can be dangerous. Although we do it every day, multiple times a day, driving requires skill and concentration. Glancing away, looking down at your phone, even looking at the road but not really “seeing” it because you are daydreaming – all of these things can create the split second it takes for a car crash to occur.
The ubiquity of smart phones means they remain a potent source of distraction. Studies indicate that using a cell phone while driving makes you four times as likely to get in a crash, and that there is not a significant difference when comparing handheld or hands-free cell phone usage (source: South Carolina Target Zero).
State and National Distracted Driving Trends
Consider the facts:
- Distracted driving is a factor in an average of 50 deadly auto accidents each year in South Carolina
- An estimated 62 fatalities out of 1,015 total deaths on South Carolina roads in 2018 are attributed to distracted driving
- Nationwide, 3,450 people died in auto accidents involving a distracted driver in 2016
- Nationwide, about 481,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving during daylight hours
Texting and other distractions are a form of careless driving. If a negligent driver caused the accident that injured you, then you may be entitled to pursue full and fair compensation in a claim handled by our attorneys.
The Electronic Device Laws in South Carolina
In South Carolina, it is illegal to text and drive. It’s a secondary fine, so you can be cited only if police stop you for some other reason. You’d also have to admit fault to get the ticket, such as saying “I was sending a text on my phone,” to the officer.
There is a proposed bill before our state legislature that would make it illegal to text, hold a phone, watch a video, use email or the internet while driving. It’s called the South Carolina Hands-Free Act. It remains to be seen how the bill will progress.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident?
If someone else caused the car crash that injured you, then you may be eligible to pursue compensation in an accident claim handled by our experienced attorneys. We have offices in Myrtle Beach, Kingstree, Columbia and Marion. For a complimentary consultation, please call Whetstone Perkins & Fulda.