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S.C. Drivers Reminded to Stay Focused During Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Zoomed in photo of a driver texting while behind the wheel.

Learn the consequences of distracted driving and how a lawyer can help you recover after a crash

South Carolina drivers and drivers nationwide are reminded to observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which takes place every April. The dangers of distracted driving cannot be overstated. Not only does it put the driver at risk, but also every other road user, increasing the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

What is the penalty for distracted driving in SC?

South Carolina drivers are frequently getting distracted while driving, leading to an alarming average of two distracted driving accidents every hour in the state. Surprisingly, distracted driving causes twice as many accidents as drunk driving, and it's also six times more dangerous than driving under the influence.

Although distracted driving is rampant in South Carolina, the state has implemented laws to curb this dangerous behavior. For example, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) prohibits the use of wireless electronic communication devices for writing, sending, or reading texts while driving. Moreover, South Carolina recently passed the Hands-Free Act, which prohibits drivers from holding their phones while driving.

Violators of distracted driving laws are subject to a $25 fine, while violators of the Hands-Free Act face more severe penalties. A first-time offender is charged $100, while subsequent offenders receive a $200 fine and two points on their driver's record.

Understanding the different types of distractions

According to PRNewswire, driver distraction is a factor in 25% of fatal traffic accidents. Although distractions are mainly associated with cell phone use, a distraction could be anything that diverts a driver's attention away from the task of driving. They are split into three types: visual, manual, and cognitive.

  • Visual distractions: Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road.
    • Examples: Looking at a phone, a billboard, an accident, or something going on outside the vehicle (rubbernecking)
  • Manual distractions: Anything that takes a driver's hands off the steering wheel.
    • Examples: Eating, drinking, texting, reaching for something in the car, or adjusting music or climate controls.
  • Cognitive distractions: Anything that takes a driver's mind off the task of driving.
    • Examples: Daydreaming, worrying, or being in deep conversation with passengers.

Tips to avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving accidents are preventable, and there are steps that drivers can take to avoid them. The South Carolina Department of Insurance recommends the following tips for ways to drive distraction-free:

  • Prioritize safety by silencing your cell phone and placing it out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Set your GPS, radio, and climate control before driving your vehicle.
  • If you need to take your eyes off the road, wait until you're completely stopped and in a safe location. Avoid trying to multitask while driving.
  • Remember this critical question: If you're distracted, who's driving? It's essential to remain fully present and engaged while behind the wheel to ensure your safety and that of others on the road.

Contact a South Carolina distracted driving accident lawyer today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, Twenge + Twombley Law Firm is ready to help. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions and fighting aggressively to ensure you receive the compensation you're entitled to under South Carolina law.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable South Carolina car accident attorneys. Our office is conveniently located in Beaufort, and we are committed to providing you with the legal representation you deserve. Don't hesitate to contact us for help with your potential legal case.

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