Texting while driving is the most common distraction for drivers. According to the NHTSA, texting while driving gives a driver the same delayed response time as a drunk driver.
If a distracted driving accident injured you or your loved one, you might be entitled to recover damages for your injuries and losses. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we help personal injury victims understand their legal options and represent them in settlement negotiations or litigation, as necessary.
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Distracted Driving Is a Growing Problem
Two or three decades back, the only distraction when driving was the radio. Unlike then, cars today have all kinds of technology – radios, navigation/GPS systems, TV viewing screens, makeup mirrors, among others.
Additionally, drivers have more things to take their attention from the road when driving–cell phones, iPods, and tablets. This creates an environment of increased risk to personal safety and the safety of other road users.
Statistics from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report showed that distracted driving was responsible for 2,841 fatalities in 2018, out of whom 477 were vulnerable road users (bicyclists and pedestrians).
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Distracted Driving in South Carolina
South Carolina’s laws do not define what distracted driving means. The NHTSA defines it as anything that takes a driver’s focus away from driving. This definition means that even innocuous activities can be counted as distracted driving. Some common examples of distractions include:
These activities make the driver remove one or both hands from the wheel, such as:
- Reaching to answer a call
- Picking something from the bag, floor, or other places
- Stubbing out a cigarette
- Restraining children or a pet
- Eating while driving
- Grooming or touching up makeup while driving
Manual distractions cause many accidents, with texting while driving being the leading manual distraction.
These distractions keep the driver’s mind from focusing on driving. They include:
- Looking at billboards
- Listening to passengers’ stories and talking back
- Emotional distress
These are distractions that take the driver’s eyes off the road even for a moment while driving. They are often combined with cognitive or manual distractions. Visual distractions include:
- Adjusting the stereo or GPS
- Looking at a map
- Glancing at your cell phone screen
- Rubbernecking (looking outside) to see an accident or anything else on the road
These activities and many more contribute to distracted driving. They also raise the potential for car accidents significantly. When coupled with other traffic infarctions like aggressive driving or teen driving, they can be lethal to innocent motorists or road users.
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South Carolina Laws on Texting While Driving
South Carolina Code of Laws § 56-5-3890 makes it illegal for drivers to text while driving in South Carolina. If there is evidence that the at-fault driver was sending or reading a text at the time of the accident, he/she may be found liable for your injuries. Also, texting while driving is a moving traffic violation. It attracts a fine of $25 for first-time offenses and $50 for every subsequent offense.
It is not against the law for a driver to speak using a handheld or hands-free phone, but it can be used as evidence of possible distraction leading to a car accident. Right now, a law to prohibit drivers from using their cell phones at all while driving is yet to be passed.
Depending on your case’s specifics, our North Charleston distracted driving accident attorneys could help you build a strong case after thoroughly investigating the circumstances that caused your accident.
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Modified Comparative Negligence, and Evidence for Liability
You should also note that South Carolina upholds the concept of comparative negligence. This means that you can sue one or more parties for damages in an accident, even if you were partially responsible for it. However, the law states that you should be no more than 50 percent responsible and no more responsible than the other parties involved.
Proving that one or more parties are at fault is no walk in the park either. For example, even though texting while driving is a traffic violation, you cannot simply use that fact to assign fault to a driver in court or their insurer.
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, the plaintiff should show how the distraction constituted negligence. This means our personal injury lawyers need adequate time to collect evidence from various sources and build a strong case. Some of the evidence we collect include:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Official police records
- Video surveillance or footage
- Accident scene photos
- Phone records
- Black box evidence, among others
It is not uncommon for us to engage the services of an accident reconstruction expert, independent mechanics, and other professionals to make a compelling case and get fair compensation on behalf of our clients.
North Charleston Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one is recovering from injuries from a distracted driving accident that a negligent driver caused, a could help evaluate your North Charleston distracted driving accident attorney case’s specifics and advice regarding the legal avenues to receive the compensation you deserve for your losses and suffering. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation today.
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