As smartphones have rapidly gained popularity, especially amongst younger drivers, texting and using a phone while driving has become one of the leading causes of automobile accidents. According to Don’t Text and Drive, an advocacy group that raises awareness about the dangers of texting while driving, states that:
- Texting while driving is the leading form of distracted driving, and drivers who text are 23% more likely to become involved in an accident
- Drivers who text while driving are 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk drivers
- Use of cellphones and texting are to blame for 1.6 million automobile accidents and the death of 6,000 people every year in the United States
Texting is Distracting for the Driver
The reason why texting while driving is so dangerous is that it takes the driver’s attention away from the task at hand – operating the vehicle safely and paying attention to the road and other drivers. When a driver texts while behind the wheel, his or her attention is diverted for an average of 5 seconds. The average amount of time that it takes for an accident to occur is 3 seconds, meaning that a distracted driver is more likely to cause an accident because they are not paying attention and cannot react in a timely manner.
Many people think that they can shoot off a quick text while stopped at a red light or when they are stuck in traffic. However, this can be dangerous because the distracted driver is not paying attention. Other drivers or users of the roadway, such as pedestrians or bicyclists, may be trying to communicate with the distracted driver, or may think that the distracted driver is fully stopped and attentive, making it safe for the other driver, pedestrian or bicyclist to cross the path of the distracted driver. If the distracted driver doesn’t see the other vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist, someone could get seriously hurt. Many accidents result from a distracted driver starting to move their vehicle without checking to make sure it is safe to do so because they are absorbed in their texting activities.
Texting While Driving In South Carolina
Texting while driving is illegal in South Carolina for all drivers. It is considered to be a distracted driving offense, but because texting while driving can often be done inconspicuously, so that law enforcement cannot detect it, there are fewer citations written for texting while driving that for other traffic offenses, reports The State. This means that drivers are still out there texting while driving, which endangers the safety of others who share the same roadways with these distracted drivers.