Safety Advocates Seek Greater Awareness of Distracted Driving Dangers

Every year, thousands of people die due to distracted driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving crashes killed 3,328 people in 2012. During April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, safety advocates have stepped up efforts to call attention to the extreme hazards of distracted driving.

Anything that removes your eyes, hands or mind from the task of driving is a diversion. Some common distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cellphone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player
  • Talking with passengers

In today’s digital age, texting and conversing on a cellphone top this list. Although it’s a fact that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely than other drivers to be involved in a severe car accident, many people continue to keep their smartphones within reach behind the wheel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classify distractions into three types:

  • Visual – Removing your eyes from the road ahead.
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive – Letting your mind drift away from driving.

Texting is the riskiest distraction of all because it combines all three of these aspects.

You can help keep yourself and others on the road much safer. For example, the National Safety Council invites you to take the pledge to drive cell free. When you commit to this pledge, you’re doing your part to ensure that the act of driving gets the full attention it deserves.

South Carolina Legislation

South Carolina is one of a few states that do not have a law specifically addressing distracted driving. Some municipalities have passed their own laws, but they vary from place to place and may confuse drivers who travel throughout the state.

The South Carolina legislature currently is considering legislation aimed at distracted driving, including a proposal to bar all drivers from texting and another to prohibit novice drivers from using handheld devices.

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