Why Is Texting and Driving Dangerous?

December 22, 2023
Savage, Royall & Sheheen

Approximately 270 million people in the U.S. use smartphones. Although most states have laws restricting or prohibiting it, you can find about 660,000 drivers using their phones while driving at any moment.

Distracted driving causes multiple car crashes daily, injuring or killing motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Why is texting and driving dangerous? The car accident lawyers in Camden from Savage, Royall & Sheheen, LLP, can explain.

Understanding Why Texting and Driving Is Dangerous

A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes from the road, hands from the wheel or attention away from driving. Texting while driving falls into all three categories.

It takes approximately five seconds to read a text. If a motorist going at 55 mph takes their eyes off the road for five seconds, they travel the length of a football field. A lot can happen during that time, including other vehicles or pedestrians appearing suddenly, traffic slowdowns and approaching turnoffs.

Drivers should take action in all these scenarios, but with their focus on their phone instead of the road, reactions are delayed. While it may not sound like a lot, it takes around two seconds from when drivers realize they need to act for them to take the appropriate action. Only after pressing the brake pedal does a car begin to stop, adding more time and distance.

There are other reasons why texting and driving is dangerous:

  • Cars often drift into other traffic lanes.
  • Speeds may be inconsistent, randomly slowing down and speeding up.
  • The following distance between cars fluctuates.

The impact of texting while driving is similar to driving after drinking four beers in one hour.

Texting and Driving Statistics

During the first half of 2023, data shows that South Carolina ranks as the third worst state in the U.S. for distracted driving. Although discussing why texting and driving is dangerous is alarming, these numbers make the risks more real:

  • 34% of hands-on phone use while driving is at speeds over 50 mph.
  • Cell phone use and texting were the primary contributing factors in 166 South Carolina collisions during 2021, injuring 66 people and killing one. Distracted and inattentive driving caused 8,928 crashes that killed six people and injured 2,679.
  • Approximately 26% of all collisions result from cell phone use while driving.
  • Using a phone reduces the brain’s cognitive functions needed for driving by 37%.
  • Drivers who text are up to 23% more likely to cause accidents.

Many people who admit to texting and driving understand the dangers yet choose to do it anyway.

South Carolina Texting and Driving Laws

Although South Carolina lawmakers have proposed bills to ban any cell phone use while driving, current laws only prohibit writing, sending and reading text messages. There are exceptions to this statute, allowing texting in certain situations.

South Carolina’s texting and driving laws are some of the nation’s most lenient. First offenders typically receive only a $25 fine. Subsequent violations incur a $50 penalty. Driving records will not include the offense, and no one will report it to car insurance companies.

Although law enforcement officers can stop drivers and issue citations solely for hands-on phone use, officers must have a clear, unobstructed view that suggests drivers are texting rather than using their phones for other reasons.

Lax laws and minimal consequences do little to make South Carolina drivers take texting and driving seriously. However, it is negligent behavior and can substantiate your claim for compensation if you sustain injuries in an accident caused by a texting driver.

What You Can Do To Avoid the Dangers of Texting and Driving

You can’t control other driver’s actions, but you can take steps to ensure that you and your family drive safely:

  • Silence your notifications.
  • Keep your phone out of sight.
  • Only text when you are safely stopped.
  • Discuss the dangers of texting and driving with your children.
  • Ask passengers to read, compose and send texts for you.

If you notice other motorists driving erratically, make safe evasive maneuvers and honk your horn. This could keep you safe while alerting distracted drivers to the dangers they are causing.

Injured by a Distracted Driver? Contact Our Lawyers in Camden, SC

If you sustain injuries in a collision caused by texting and driving or another type of distracted driving, you deserve compensation for your damages. Obtaining fair payouts without legal representation is challenging, but you don’t have to handle your claim alone.

Savage, Royall & Sheheen, LLP, has been defending the rights of people in and around Camden, SC, since 1926.

Our attorneys understand how to hold distracted drivers accountable, and we will fight to help you obtain the maximum payout you deserve. Contact us today to request a case consultation or submit our online contact form.

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