Distracted driving takes the lives of nine Americans every single day, according to statistics reported by the Huffington Post.
April has been named Distracted Driving Awareness Month in an effort to educate motorists and draw attention to this national epidemic.
What is distracted driving?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites three main types of distraction while behind the wheel of a vehicle. The first is visual, which occurs when the driver takes eyes off the road. The second is manual, which involves taking hands off the wheel, and the third is cognitive — taking the mind off driving. Any of these types of distraction can have serious consequences, both for the operator of the vehicle and those in the vehicle’s path.
These three types of distracted driving can take shape in many different ways. Talking to passengers, personal grooming and eating while driving are just a few. Other distracting activities include talking on a cellphone, adjusting a radio or using a personal navigation. The biggest source of distracted driving today is texting while driving.
According to a report from the Huffington Post, one-third of all drivers admitted to texting while driving in the previous month. Other statistics show that at any given moment during the day, 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or other electronic devices while they are behind the wheel. The age group with the highest percentage of texting drivers is between 16 and 24.
Despite the fact that many drivers say they understand how dangerous texting and driving can be, many still combine the activities. There appears to be an “it can’t happen to me” mentality when it comes to texting behind the wheel. Despite the general attitude, statistics show that one in every four accidents that occur on the roads today likely had distracted driving as a factor.
Promoting safer driving
To prevent distracted driving accidents, state and federal governments are trying to raise awareness of the problem and educate the general public about the risks. Laws are also being enacted on both a state and federal level to prohibit distracted driving. Many states have now banned texting while driving, although studies need to be done to determine whether such laws actually produce the desired effect.
Employees of the federal government have now been prohibited from texting while driving using government vehicles or while on government business. In addition, specific federal agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Administration and Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, have banned handheld cellphone use or texting while driving.
Liability in distracted driving accidents
Despite efforts on all levels to curb this problem, distracted driving continues to be a major factor in motor vehicle accidents today. If you have been involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver, proving liability will be crucial in determining whether you recoup compensation for your injuries, lost wages and other non-economic losses.
To discuss your case with an experienced car accident lawyer in South Carolina, we invite you to call The Jeffcoat Firm at (803) 200-2000 for a free case evaluation.