Texting and Distracted Driving
Distracted driving refers to any activity that can divert an individual’s attention from the primary task of driving while behind the wheel. Many activities are considered distracted driving, from eating to changing channels on the radio. The most common distracted driving activity, however, is texting while driving.
Texting diverts visual, manual and cognitive attention from the task of driving, making it by far one of the most dangerous distracted driving practices. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million crashes are caused each year by drivers texting and using cell phones.
Many people think that they can get away with sending a quick text without taking their eyes off the road for more than a second. However, an individual takes his or her eyes off the road for up to five seconds when conducting a text message. Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds when traveling the average speed of 55 mph is enough time to travel the length of a football field. But it truly only takes one second for an accident to happen, as the 330,000 injured in texting and driving accidents each year can attest.
These alarming statistics have caused many states to place bans on texting while driving. In South Carolina, drivers can be stopped and cited for texting while driving as a distracted driving offense. Tickets typically begin at $25 for a first offense, increasing after that ($50 for a second offense, and so on). However, the texting and driving law in South Carolina does not apply to using a cellphone in order to make calls.
While many states are placing bans on texting and driving, the laws regarding cellphone use while driving vary from state to state. When traveling, it is important to be aware of the different cellphone traffic laws. For example, all handheld cellphone use is banned in California; if drivers are not using a bluetooth or other handless system to make a phone call, they will be cited. The laws on cellphone use and texting while driving for each state can be found here.
When it comes to preventing accidents caused by texting and driving, the key is education. Most Americans understand that texting and driving is considered dangerous, but do not realize the scope of the danger caused by this activity, especially teens. Eleven teenagers die every day as a result of texting and driving.
Stay informed, educate young drivers, and stop practicing distracted driving so that you do not become another statistic. For more facts and statistics on distracted driving, visit these sites: NHTSA, distraction.gov, distracted driver accidents.
If you have any further questions, or have been involved in an accident caused by texting and driving, contact our office today. Reach us online or at 843-552-6011.