Distracted Driving Risks Change, But Charleston Collisions Remain Likely

Most motorists know how unsafe it is to drive while distracted. Despite this knowledge, however, motorists throughout Charleston and surrounding areas still engage in distracted driving behaviors.  In fact, one recent study shows that there has been a steady increase over the past six years in some of the riskiest behaviors behind the wheel.

Anyone using any kind of electronic device, even a hands-free system, has too many cognitive distractions to effectively focus on the road.   The risk of a collision is significantly increased, especially when motorists text or check their email behind the wheel.  When such a crash occurs, victims of the distracted driving accident should talk to a Charleston, SC lawyer for help pursuing a claim for compensation.

Drivers Admit to More Distracting Behaviors

The number of motorists using a handheld cell phone has declined over the past six year. However, the number of motorists doing other types of high-risk distracting behaviors has increased. This data comes from an annual survey conducted by State Farm, the results of which were recently published in USA Today.

According to the survey:

  • In 2009, 13 percent of drivers said that they used the Internet on an electronic device while they were driving. By 2014, a total of 26 percent of drivers said they accessed the Internet behind the wheel. The number of drivers browsing online has doubled.
  • In 2009, 15 percent of drivers said that they used email as they were driving. By 2014, a total of 26 percent said that they used email behind the wheel.
  • In 2009, nine percent of drivers said that they had used a social media or social networking website while driving. By 2014, this number had more than doubled and 20 percent of motorists admitted to checking into their networks even as they were behind the wheel.

Drivers do these types of behaviors for many different reasons. The increase in the availability of smartphones makes it easier for people to stay connected all the time, and using the phone to check email or messages has become a habit that it is hard for people to break even when driving.  Many drivers also underestimate the level of distraction caused by quickly checking their phones, and they overestimate the effectiveness of their multi-tasking.

Drivers typically believe that they will be safe if they just check their phone or electronic device quickly while they are stopped at an intersection. Around 63 percent of survey respondents, for example, indicated that they would use their phones to check online or check their email at a traffic light.  Since 36 percent of all motor vehicle collisions in the United States happen at intersections, this is not a wise choice for motorists.

Drivers need to be aware of the risks of distracted driving. Even the use of voice-controlled systems can cause too much attention to drift from the road, resulting in delayed reaction time and a greater chance of collisions occurring.  The only way to avoid these risks is simply to avoid using any kind of electronics behind the wheel and instead to focus 100 percent on the road.  When drivers make a different choice and a crash occurs, victims can pursue a claim for compensation with the help of a Charleston accident attorney.

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