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South Carolina Teens Learn About the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Woman using cellphone while driving.

The dangers of distracted driving remain a serious concern on roads across South Carolina and the United States. Nationwide, over 3,300 people lost their lives in 2022 due to distracted driving. Younger drivers tend to be the most affected by this dangerous driving behavior. Statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety indicate that every 1.4 hours, a teen driver in the state is involved in a crash that results in injury or death.

How a South Carolina community is raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving

To raise awareness amongst younger drivers, Wando High School in Charleston recently hosted an interactive event to educate students about the dangers of distracted driving. Additionally, the Southeastern Chapter of the National Safety Council, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, and insurance agent Tony Pope have joined forces to engage Wando High students. Their goal is to promote safer driving habits through a hands-on learning experience. This initiative follows a tragic car accident at Wando High earlier this year.

During the event, police officers equipped students with fatal vision goggles to navigate a golf cart through an obstacle course. The purpose is to demonstrate the dangers of impaired driving. The program also included a sobriety test administered by officers to educate students on how to behave if pulled over.

Additionally, students experienced a virtual reality simulator from the SC National Safety Council. This simulated distracted or impaired driving scenarios to show how quickly distractions can cause serious accidents. Officers also demonstrated traffic stops, discussed the importance of obeying speed limits, and explained traffic control devices.

Mount Pleasant Senior Police Officer Robert Mathewes III is a Wando High alum. He stressed the significance of such educational initiatives, especially for new and soon-to-be drivers. He highlighted the frequent involvement of local teens in car accidents and his commitment to reducing these incidents through proactive education.

"We hope it’ll reduce crashes. Hopefully, I will see less of them on the road,” said Mathewes. “When we’re out here, they’re learning things."

Melissa Reck, director of traffic safety for the Southeastern Chapter and former police officer, finds these school visits profoundly impactful. "They’re able to better understand how their reaction time is affected if they are doing something else while they’re driving their vehicle. They’re able to see how their motor skills are affected by using the fatal vision goggles. So, it’s a really great way for them to kind of gain some understanding but still be safe," said Reck.

What are the most common dangers of distracted driving?

Distracted driving isn't just limited to cell phone use behind the wheel. It can include any activity that creates visual, manual, or cognitive distractions. These activities reduce driver's reaction times and awareness. Plus, drivers have less control of their vehicles. This increases the risk of rear-ending another vehicle, swerving off the road or into another lane, or running a red light or stop sign.

Other common examples of distracted driving include:

  • Using built-in infotainment systems.
  • Eating while driving.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Looking out the window.
  • Daydreaming.
  • Applying makeup or brushing hair.
  • Multitasking.

What should I do if I was hit by a distracted driver?

The dangers of distracted driving have been known for years. However, not everyone takes it seriously until it's too late. If another driver hit and injured you because they were distracted behind the wheel, the attorneys at Twenge + Twombley Law Firm are here to help. Our car accident attorneys are well-versed in South Carolina's distracted driving laws and are ready to hold accountable those who disregard these rules and cause collisions.

We take a personal approach to handling car accident claims by thoroughly investigating each case and fighting for the rights of our clients. We serve injured motorists and their families across Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton Head Island. Contact us online or call us to schedule a free consultation.

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