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Distracted Driving and Auto Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3477 traffic deaths and 391,000 auto accident injuries in 2015 were associated with distracted driving. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3477 traffic deaths and 391,000 auto accident injuries in 2015 were associated with distracted driving. Although texting while driving is possibly the most dangerous example of distracted driving, the term refers to any activity that takes the driver's attention away from the road including talking on the phone, texting, eating or drinking, or adjusting the radio or other electronics while driving.

Texting While Driving is Illegal in South Carolina

In 2014, South Carolina was one of the last states in the nation to pass a texting while driving law, and the penalties are also one of the lowest in the nation. Violators can receive a $25 ticket for their first offense, no points are taken from their license, and there is no impact on their insurance rates. Since 2014, the texting while driving law has rarely been enforced in many areas of the state. Although the law bans texting while driving, it still does not prohibit phone calls or use of GPS while driving. Law enforcement is also not permitted to seize, view, or require the forfeiture of phones when they suspect a violation which surely contributes to the difficulty in enforcement of the law.

Because it is now the law, however, a ticket issued for texting while driving following an auto accident in South Carolina may be considered per se negligence. When the at-fault driver has been cited and convicted for texting while driving at the time of an auto accident, negligence has been established and the battle turns to causation and the amount of damages our client is entitled to recover. In cases where the at-fault driver was not cited for texting, their activities on their phone can still be established in the discovery phase of your lawsuit and through testimony at trial.

Other Types of Distracted Driving

In addition to the use of electronic devices while driving, there are many other forms of distracted driving that can contribute to a driver's negligence in causing a car crash such as:

· Eating or drinking.
· Adjusting the radio or the air conditioner.
· Putting on make-up or brushing hair.
· Children fighting in the back seat.
· Reading maps or other documents.
· Smoking.
· Picking up items from the floorboard or back seat.

Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road is distracted driving, may lead to an auto accident, and may be used to establish negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. Your auto accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates may work with investigators or an accident reconstructionist to determine the cause of an accident. By interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and obtaining cell phone records, in many cases we can establish that distracted driving played a role in the other driver's negligence that led to the car crash.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.

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