The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving”.
Distracted driving is simple to understand but it is more difficult to manage. That morning coffee, snack, or on-the-go fast food can distract you more than people realize. Answering calls, texts, and engaging on social media while driving (however slowly) instead of waiting until your car is parked is easy to talk about but much more difficult to prevent.
There are some sobering statistics regarding distracted driving throughout South Carolina and the United States.
Injury Collisions in South Carolina Caused By Distracted Driving:
2011- 4,399 2012 - 4,952 2013- 5,145
2014- 5,287 2015- 5,573* 2016- 5,698*
Individuals Killed in Collisions Caused By Distracted Driving:
2011- 51 2012-46 2013- 53
2014 - 51 2015 - 64* 2016 - 43
Source: S.C. Department of Public Safety.
Nationally, 64% of all car wrecks involved cell phone use.
South Carolina is the #1 state in car accident fatalities per 100 million cars.
Nationwide, fatal accidents increased by 7% in 2016.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
With this serious issue of distracted driving in South Carolina and the United States, how do we help prevent this? ( Click Read More to Find Out 4 ways to Reduce Distracted Driving)
4 ways to Help Reduce Distracted Driving
1. Put Your Cell Phone Down
Phone Calls, Texting, Social Media (Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) take up an increasing amount of our daily lives. The average person in America spends about 4 hours 30 min on their cell phone per day. (Source: emarketer.com)
According to the NHTSA, if you send/read a text, are on social media, Snapchat, etc. for 5 seconds while driving at 55 mph it is like driving 100 yards (the length of a football field!) with your eyes closed.
Snapchat videos are 10 seconds long, so if you record/watch a Snapchat video while driving at 55 mph that's like driving two football fields and 200 yards with your eyes closed!
2. Know It Can Happen To Anyone
Almost 660,000 people are driving while using a cell phone during daylight hours. (Source: NHTSA) The use of cell phones, text messaging, and social media continues to increase in our daily lives. While it is easy to think you may not be the person who will be impacted by distracted driving, it is important to know distracted driving incidents can happen to anyone, at any time, in a split second.
3. Talk with Teenagers about the Issue
-9% of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
- In fatal crashes, teenagers are the most likely to have been distracted while driving.
Teenagers are at the beginning of their driving experience and need to be taught responsible practices from parents and other more experienced drivers. Be aware and talk with a teenager.
(Source: NHTSA Report)
4. Don't have significant conversations in your car.
Cars are generally an easy place to have conversations either in person or on the phone. However, some significant conversations can lead to emotional reactions. Because of the possibility of these conversations leading to heightened emotions, it is best to not have significant conversations in your car and wait until you are home or parked in a safe place. Even having these conversations on the phone can lead to a distracted mental state and heightened potential for an accident to occur.
Distracted driving accidents are continuing to be a major issue around the United States and South Carolina. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and has questions feel free to contact us today. Our personal injury attorney, Wil Alexander, is always available to answer any questions you may have regarding your potential distracted driver car accident claim.
Attorney Wil Alexander wants to keep you up to date with new legal developments and other news. Please be advised these blog posts do not constitute legal advice and you should always consult a lawyer with your legal questions.