The Dangers of Cellphone Usage While Driving
Note: This was featured as part of our Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:50 am ET for the latest law tips and legal news. You can listen to the segment below:
Technology is a huge part of our everyday lives. Our phones, computers, and tablets have simplified our day to day tasks and made constant communication possible. But our reliance on cell phones also poses certain dangers, especially when driving.
Many of us are probably guilty of talking on the phone or quickly trying to send a text while driving. What can happen if you look down for just two seconds? The answer is an accident. The National Safety Council reports that you are 23x more likely to have an auto accident while using a cellphone. Every year, 1.6 million auto accidents are attributed to cell phone use, and almost 25% of all accidents involve cell phones.
The danger in texting or talking on the phone while driving is the triple distraction problem. The first distraction is your hand being off the wheel, the second is the visual distraction, and the third is cognitive. Your attention is focused on your text or conversation rather than your driving and the conditions around you.
Legally, texting or talking on the phone while driving creates an issue of reckless driving. In an accident, reckless driving is more serious than negligence (when someone is just momentarily careless), and heightens the damages that the at fault party might be responsible for to the injured party.
Unfortunately, the dangers of cell phone distraction don’t only apply to driving. If you’re walking down the street listening to headphones or looking down at your phone rather than watching where you’re going, you might be responsible for comparative negligence. Comparative negligence refers to your contribution to the cause of an incident. The level of your negligence may limit the amount of damages you receive in the event of an accident or injury.
For example, if you are walking down the street playing Pokemon Go and trip over a crack in the sidewalk and injure yourself, you may have a reduction in damages due to your role in creating the issue in the first place.
In South Carolina, the comparative negligence standard says that if your negligence is higher than the other party’s, you will not receive any recovery for damages. Even if your fault is at 51% and the other party’s is 49%, you won’t receive anything.
For your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s important that you avoid using your cell phone while driving and pay attention to where you’re going, whether you’re on the road or simply walking down the sidewalk.
Your goal should always be injury prevention, but if you’re hurt in an incident, John Price Law Firm can help you find injury solutions. Contact us online or at 1-800-868-HELP.