Uptick of Auto Accidents in South Carolina Due to Distracted Drivers

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A recent Insurance Journal article notes that distracted driving is the cause for a spike in auto accidents, specifically those involving stopped vehicles on South Carolina’s Interstate 85 (I-85). The state’s Office of Highway Safety & Justice Programs reported more than 400 auto accidents on I-85 during 2015, compared to almost 315 the year prior. Moreover, 10 people lost their lives in 2015 due to distracted driving while 4 passed due to the same cause in 2014.

These tragic results are a reality despite a ban on texting and driving, among other things, that have been passed in several states over the years. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, contact an experienced Anderson auto accident attorney right away.

Types of Distracted Driving

Thousands of car accidents occur every year on U.S. roads and highways. Unfortunately, with the introduction of technology into our daily lives many times these accidents are caused by a completely avoidable factor – distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80 people are killed each day on U.S. roadways due to car accidents. As much as 16 percent of these fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving.

Distracted driving can be described as any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from his or her focus on the road. In South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is tasked with enforcing highway safety laws within its borders. According to the federal government’s website that is dedicated to distracted driving, Distraction.gov, as many as 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 were injured in 2013 in auto accidents involving distracted drivers. Common types of distractions while driving include:

  • Texting;
  • Eating;
  • Reading;
  • Talking on a cell phone;
  • Talking to other passengers;
  • Attending to personal hygiene;
  • Using a navigation system or map; and
  • Adjusting the radio or CD/MP3 player.

Notwithstanding great efforts by lawmakers, insurance companies and car dealers alike to combat distracted driving (including newly enacted laws, educational organizations, and government campaigns) these types of accidents are still occurring at an alarming rate.

South Carolina Law

Several state legislatures have enacted laws concerning numerous areas relating to highway safety, and specifically address distracted driving. In June of 2014, South Carolina legislators passed Bill S 459 (S 459), which supersedes two county ordinances and at least 19 different city ordinances relating to using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.. Specifically, S 459 prohibits a driver from reading, writing, or sending a text while operating a motor vehicle. Texting is allowed, however, if the vehicle is legally parked. A driver may also use a phone if he or she is  is doing so using a hands-free device. The ban includes social media and emails. Be that as it may, there are few exceptions for using electronic devices. The use of a navigational device or GPS is allowed, as is electronic device usage in emergency situations.

S 459 encompasses any electronic device including:

  • cell phones;
  • personal digital assistants (PDAs);
  • laptops; and
  • other electronic messaging devices.

If convicted of violating S 459, a driver will be hit with at least  a $25.00 – but no more than $50.00 – fine for each violation. No violation points will be assessed to his or her driver’s license. Additionally, no court costs, assessments or surcharges can be imposed upon a person found guilty of using an electronic device while driving.  Disobeying S 459 is a civil, and not a criminal, offense.

Anderson Auto Accident Help

Unfortunately, the results of an auto accident involving a distracted driver could include not only injury to pedestrians and/or cyclists but also cause crashes involving multiple trucks, passenger cars or motorcycles. Victims of distracted driving accidents not only suffer physical harm – or even death in the worst catastrophes – but also suffer emotional, financial and property damage for which they may be entitled to compensation. For this reason, if you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident involving a distracted driver contact a seasoned and aggressive auto accident attorney right away. The experienced legal professionals at The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA can explain your rights under the law. Click here to contact the firm today.


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