Drivers who are paying more attention to their cell phones cause 1.6 million crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council. In fact, 25% of all car wrecks are caused by texting drivers.
While texting is a very real and prolific hazard on South Carolina roadways, other types of distraction also cause accidents. In 2018 alone there were 2,841 people who died because of distracted drivers.
The four types of distraction
There are four ways a driver can be distracted while driving. These are:
- Visual. The driver may be looking at a phone, radio, map or in the back seat for something.
- Auditory. The music may be too loud, there may be sounds outside that distract the driver or other people or children in the car can be making noises that cause the driver to not pay attention to the road.
- Cognitive. If a driver is on the phone or having an emotional discussion with someone in the car they will not be giving their full attention to the constantly changing variables outside the car.
- Manual. This is when the driver no longer has their hands on the wheel. They may have dropped something, they may be applying makeup, eating, typing into a phone or changing the radio station.
What causes distracted-driving crashes?
Any time a driver stops paying attention to driving and starts doing something else a risk is created for a crash. As stated above, the most common cause for a distracted driving accident is cell phone use. Other causes include:
- Other people or pets in the car
- Eating or drinking
There are many types of distractions. It is however, the responsibility of the driver to pay attention while driving and not put the lives of their passengers and other people on the road at risk. Many states, including South Carolina, have laws against cellphone use and driving.
New proposed legislation would make it illegal in our state to drive and “physically hold, compose text-based communication, or watch video footage on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.” The statute will go into effect when and if approved by the governor.