Distracted Driving in Hilton Head Endangers All Road Users
There are many ways in which Hilton Head drivers can become distracted from the road ahead of them. The tourism industry brings many visitors to the area, and these unfamiliar drivers often become distracted by navigation systems or attempts to familiarize themselves with the area. Food and drink have long been a temptation that many drivers find in the vehicle. Pets or children in the car can also distract a driver.
But the most common distraction in recent years, of course, has become the ever-present smartphone. A single device now presents drivers with the opportunity to talk, text, email, post, and search online when they should be paying attention to the road.
South Carolina’s Abnormally High Fatality Rate
The Independent Mail reports that South Carolina has the highest fatality rate of all fifty states. The 2017 rate of 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles driven was nearly double the national average. And 2017 was not the first year in which South Carolina led the nation in traffic deaths. There are certain common themes in roadway fatalities. Impaired driving, speeding, and lack of seatbelt use continue to be common contributing factors. Yet the prevalence of smartphones has introduced new causes which are quickly becoming a major threat to public safety.
Part of the problem is driver attitudes about distracted driving. While many drivers recognize that distracted driving is a problem, they fail to actually change their driving behaviors as a result of this knowledge. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey which found that drivers’ primary concern was distracted driving (beating out aggressive driving, drug use while driving, and drunk driving). Yet in spite of this, nearly half the drivers surveyed admitted to recent phone use while driving. Bloomberg also reports that phone use behind the wheel is on the rise across the United States.
How to Address the Problem of Distracted Driving in South Carolina
Part of the solution to distracted driving must be enforcement. States with stronger distracted driving laws and states which have more consistent enforcement of these laws tend to have lower rates of accidents caused by distracted driving. It is therefore important for local, county, and state authorities to hold distracted drivers accountable for violations of distracted driving laws. But it is also important for accident victims to hold distracted drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct. Law enforcement officers cannot hold every distracted driver accountable for every violation of the law. The consequences of a personal injury claim, increased insurance premiums, and a civil lawsuit can give a distracted driver the incentive to change his or her dangerous driving habits.
Our Hilton Head auto accident attorneys have seen the many different ways in which distracted drivers can permanently alter their victims’ lives. Permanent pain, stiffness, or decreased range of motion can cause a victim pain and suffering long after an accident. Sometimes rehabilitative therapies can reduce these symptoms. In other cases, the symptoms are permanent. All of these losses are subject to compensation in a personal injury claim.