Distracted driving is responsible for an average of nine fatalities every day in the United States. These tragic deaths were all completely preventable if the driver at fault had been paying attention to the road.
In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the increase in distracted driving accidents caused by smartphone use by drivers. Talking, text messaging, surfing the web, and using apps are all dangerous activities behind the wheel.
South Carolina prohibits texting while driving, but The Herald reported in January 2018 that the $25-per-offense fine was not discouraging the habit and police officers reported that they were not writing tickets because it was difficult to prove that drivers were texting. In July 2018, The State reported that distracted driving accounted for 17,025 collisions, 51 deaths, and 7,329 injuries in South Carolina, with cell phones or texting specifically being cited in 331 collisions involving five deaths and 167 injuries.
What Is Distracted Driving?
South Carolina does not have a state law clearly defining activity that constitutes distracted driving, but the general idea is that any kind of distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the road is considered distracted driving. Smartphones are an increasingly common distraction, and others include: eating and drinking, grooming, changing music on the stereo, using the vehicle’s navigation system, interacting with other occupants, or paying attention to outside distractions.
What Are the Risks?
The risks of distracted driving are significant. A person who is not fully invested in the task of driving will not be prepared to stop suddenly or take evasive action when required. They may not notice if their vehicle crosses lanes or veers into oncoming traffic. Even taking your eyes off of the road for a second could lead to a catastrophic accident.
Other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are all in danger whenever a driver is distracted behind the wheel.
When it comes to smartphone use in the car, it is important to note that reading even a single text message can take your eyes off the road for five seconds. If you are traveling at 60 mph, your vehicle would travel the length of a football field during the time your eyes were off the road.
What Are Some Phone-Blocking Apps?
- LifeSaver is one app that can run undetected and lock a phone when a vehicle begins moving. LifeSaver prevents any phone usage and can also notify parents when children have unlocked a phone or arrived safely.
- Samsung’s In-Traffic Reply will make your phone send a preset reply to any text messages you receive while driving. The app activates at speeds of more than 6 mph and detects when a vehicle is in motion through Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring.
- DriveMode activates when a person is traveling 15 mph and automatically replies to text messages while driving with an ability to also silence incoming alerts and phone calls.
- Drive Safe is another app that sends auto-replies texts and silences a phone while driving.
Do Not Disturb Features and Safety-Encouraging Apps
Do not disturb (DND) is a built-in feature on most cell phones and is perhaps the most reliable option that does not require the use of an app.
Several other apps focus on encouraging safe driving.
- Milez rewards teen drivers for miles driven at more than 5 mph without cell phone use by transferring money from their parents’ bank accounts for every 200 miles of distraction-free driving.
- TextNinja calls miles driven without phone use “Safe Miles,” and they can be redeemed for various rewards.
- SafeDrive gives people points for not using their phone while driving, and the points can be used to purchase discounted products from partner companies.
Contact Us for Legal Help If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, do not wait to contact Schiller & Hamilton. Call us or contact us online to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free consultation.