4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Distracted Driving and Auto Accidents in SC

Distracted Driving and Auto Accidents in SC
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Distracted driving, whether it is texting while driving, putting on makeup, or fiddling with a Bluetooth device, is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in South Carolina and nationwide.

In most cases, distracted driving is negligence – when a driver causes a crash because they were not paying attention to the road, they are negligent, and they must pay for the damage they caused.

Below, we will cover the basics of what you need to know about distracted driving and auto accidents in SC, including:

  • Types of distracted driving that can lead to auto accidents,
  • SC’s law against texting while driving, and
  • Distracted driving statistics.

Distracted Driving and Auto Accidents in SC

What is “distracted driving?”

It’s anything that takes your attention away from the road when your vehicle is in motion, whether it’s a cigarette or kids fighting in the back seat…

If the other driver sideswiped your car because they were trying to put out a cigarette or because they were turned around in their seat trying to control unruly children, they are not keeping a proper lookout, and they are likely to commit other traffic violations that will equal negligence on their part.

Every driver has a duty to keep a proper lookout, obey the traffic laws, and keep other motorists and pedestrians safe on the highway. A distracted driver may be breaching their duty and committing negligence by:

  • Failing to keep a proper lookout,
  • Failing to maintain their lane,
  • Failing to yield,
  • Tailgating,
  • Running a red light or stop sign, or
  • Failing to obey other traffic laws.

The act of turning around in the driver’s seat to scold children while driving is negligence but might be difficult to prove. The fact that the driver then ran a stop sign, colliding with your vehicle, is enough to establish liability, however.

Texting and Driving Law in South Carolina

South Carolina has a law that prohibits texting and driving – the most common form of distracted driving.

SC Code § 56-5-3890 says, “It is unlawful for a person to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State.”

A violation carries a potential penalty of no more than $25 with “no court costs, assessments, or surcharges, and a second offense is a two-point violation. More importantly, a conviction for texting while driving can be “negligence per se,” proving that the driver was at fault in the crash.

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3522 people died in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving in 2021.

That doesn’t count the thousands of injuries caused by distracted driving across the country, and the numbers are most likely low because all distracted driving is not noticed or reported.

Types of Distracted Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks it down into three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual distractions – looking at a billboard, a crash, a pretty girl crossing the road, other cars, or passengers in your vehicle can take your eyes away from the road,
  • Manual distractions – things that make you take your hand off the steering wheel like eating food, texting on your phone, putting out a cigarette, changing the radio station, or reaching for something in the backseat, and
  • Cognitive distractions – things that take your mind off driving, even when you’re watching the road and your hands are at “two and ten” on the steering wheel, like daydreaming, singing, talking, or intoxication.

Distracted driving doesn’t necessarily fit neatly into one or another of these categories. In most cases, an activity is a combination of two or three categories.

For example, when the kids are fighting in the backseat, you are distracted 1) visually when you turn around to yell at them, 2) manually when you take your hand off the wheel to pull little Johnny off his brother, and 3) cognitively as you become angry and stressed.

Specific examples of distracted driving that leads to auto accidents include:

  • Texting while driving,
  • Manipulating a phone for other purposes like GPS, social media, or Google,
  • Putting on makeup or brushing hair,
  • Eating or drinking,
  • Kids fighting in the back seat,
  • Passengers demanding the driver’s attention,
  • Smoking,
  • Trying to pick up something from the floorboard or the back seat while driving, or
  • Any activity that divides the driver’s attention.

How do you prove distracted driving in your lawsuit or insurance claim?

Every case is different, but your attorney may be able to prove the other driver’s negligence by:

  • Interviewing witnesses,
  • Obtaining cell phone records,
  • Analyzing the vehicle’s “black box,”
  • Retaining an accident reconstructionist,
  • Photographs or video of the accident scene, or
  • Statements made by the defendant to law enforcement or other witnesses.

Got Axelrod?

Distracted driving is negligent driving, and your auto accident lawyer at Axelrod & Associates is ready to help you recover the maximum damages that you are entitled to under SC law and the facts of your case.

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 843-258-4254 or fill out our contact form today.

Recent Posts



Need help? Contact Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Our Locations

Medios de Comunicación Social:


Request your

The fields marked with * are mandatory.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.