South Carolina Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous behavior. This practice involves anything that distracts you from the act of operating your vehicle, sometimes leading to disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, distracted driving is more common than we often believe.
Although April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month in South Carolina, it is important to be aware of this risk all year long. Distracted driving is extremely risky, and it is important for all motorists to be alert while behind the wheel.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3,100 people in the United States died in a distracted driving accident in 2019. Approximately 424,000 people suffered injuries in these collisions.
Most of the people who were killed in distracted driving accidents were not inside of a vehicle, such as pedestrians and cyclists. Most fatal crashes involved young adult and teen drivers, and were caused by behaviors like texting and driving.
Not paying attention to the road can have dire consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if you take your eyes away from driving for 5 seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour, you travel the entire length of a football field blindfolded.
What Qualifies as Distracted Driving?
When talking about distracted driving behaviors, most people think of texting or talking on the phone. However, this practice can involve far more than using a cell phone while driving.
In fact, there are three types of distracted driving: visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions.
Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off the road. Cell phone use, like texting, scrolling through social media, or recording a video, often qualifies as visual distractions. However, looking in the mirror, fiddling with a radio or GPS system, or turning to face other people in the vehicle can also lead to visual distractions.
Manual distractions occur when you take your hands off the steering wheel. Eating, drinking, applying makeup, and fixing your hair qualify under this category. Manual distractions may also involve handling a cell phone or other components in your vehicle.
Cognitive distractions occur when your brain is focused on something other than the act of driving. Talking to other passengers in the vehicle, reading and processing information from a text message, or even daydreaming can lead to cognitive distractions.
Legal Options for Victims of Distracted Driving
If you are injured in a distracted driving accident, you can suffer serious physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardships. In these situations, you may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a claim against the distracted driver.
In South Carolina, drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely. Distracted driving is a violation of this duty. If a distracted driver caused your accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her.
To secure the compensation that you deserve, you need an attorney on your side who can represent your claim and help prove the other driver’s liability. As soon as possible after your accident, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer to discuss your options for recovery.