As phones get smarter, drivers get more distracted. Texting and driving is a habit that is fatal yet common. What exactly makes texting and driving so dangerous? How common is it? Who does it the most? What laws are there to prevent this habit and help victims of texting and driving accidents? These questions are answered below.
Distracted driving comes in three main forms: cognitive, visual and manual. While every kind of distracted driving is dangerous, texting and driving is particularly risky because it combines all three. Texting and driving takes your eyes off the road, occupies one or more of your hands and distracts your thinking process. Even hands-free devices cause significant cognitive distraction.
While older drivers are certainly part of the problem, statistics show that drivers aged 16 to 24 partake in using electronic devices while driving at higher rates. Distracted driving causes 10 percent of deadly accidents involving drivers younger than 20 years old, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
South Carolina law
Due to the dangers of distracted driving, states have rushed to implement preventative laws. Drivers in South Carolina are banned from reading, writing and sending texts while driving. The law supersedes any county or city ordinances regarding texting while driving. The law does allow use of GPS navigation, communicating via hands-free devices or texting if legally stopped. Hands-free devices and GPS navigation units can still cause a significant amount of distraction and cause accidents.
Educate and lead by example
The first step to preventing texting while driving is resisting the temptation. When you choose not to distract yourself while driving you make the road safer for everyone, including yourself. Let family members and friends know of the dangers of distraction. If you have teenage children, it is especially crucial to ensure they do not develop the risky habit.
If you are in an accident
Victims of texting while driving accidents should avoid speaking with an insurance company without legal advice. Insurance companies are generally quick to offer immediate and low settlements that may not cover long-term medical expenses. Consulting a personal injury attorney will help you understand your options and seek compensation.
The reasons to avoid texting while driving are numerous. Not only is it illegal and could result in an expensive ticket but it can have serious and even fatal consequences. If you believe distracted driving was the cause of a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney for advice.