Charleston Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

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Distracted driving is common in South Carolina and around the country. But, driving without your full attention on the road is dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people die each year as a result of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is negligent driving, and if you have been injured or lost a loved one to an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The best source of information about whether you have a claim against a distracted driver is an experienced Charleston car accident attorney.

Attorney Frank Hartman understands the importance of having reliable information and guidance shortly after a serious car accident. So, he offers free consultations to help you make informed decisions about your next steps. You can schedule your free consultation by calling 843.300.7600 or filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

What is Distracted Driving?

Texting and driving is the most widely publicized type of distracted driving. Texting behind the wheel is believed to cause hundreds of fatal accidents every year. However, there are many other types of distracted driving. These other types of distracted driving may be as dangerous as, or even more dangerous than, texting and driving. In part, that is because many drivers do not recognize the danger of other activities that take their attention away from the road.

  • Other types of distracted driving include:
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Programming an address into your GPS while driving
  • Looking for music on your phone or system in your car
  • Paying attention to something outside the car, such as a vehicle broken down alongside the road or a billboard
  • Talking on the phone, even if you are using a hands free device
  • Reaching to pick something up off the floor or get something out of your purse while driving
  • Turning to look at or engage with children in the back seat

In short, anything that takes your attention away from the road in front of you, other traffic, and activity around you is distracted driving.

Why is Distracted Driving so Dangerous?

Despite widespread public safety campaigns about the dangers of distracted driving, many drivers do not fully internalize the risks. That’s at least partially because the distractions may be very short in duration. It’s been estimated that it takes three to five seconds to read a text message. That sounds like a very short period of time. However, if you sit still and watch five seconds elapse or count five seconds, you will see that it is much longer than it sounds like.

In concrete terms, at 70 miles per hour–the speed limit on most interstates in South Carolina–a vehicle travels more than 100 feet per second. At that speed, a vehicle travels just over 306 feet in three seconds. That’s just under the length of the average city block. That’s a lot of distance to cover without looking in front of you or around you, and a lot can go wrong in that interval.

Avoiding Distracted Driving Accidents

The key to avoiding distracted driving accidents is simple: to avoid distracted driving. Unfortunately, many Americans who openly acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving also admit that they engage in it.

In response to the most recent Traffic Safety Culture Index survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), more than 90% of drivers said they thought texting, emailing, or reading on a handheld cell phone while driving was either very dangerous or extremely dangerous. The vast majority also acknowledged that people important to them would not approve of such behaviors. Nonetheless, 26% of those same drivers admitted that they had sent a text or email while driving at least once in the previous year, and 36% reported reading texts or emails on their phone while driving.

Of course, in an environment where others are engaging in distracted driving, keeping your own attention focused on the road is all the more important. It is also all the more important to observe standard traffic safety measures, such as maintaining safe distance between vehicles, observing speed limits, and signaling when you are going to change lanes. Proper distance and speed are particularly important since they will allow you a greater opportunity to react if a distracted driver acts dangerously on the road.

What to do if You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver

Under South Carolina law, a driver who negligently causes a motor vehicle accident is generally responsible for all damages caused by that accident. That includes damage to your vehicle and medical bills, but may also include other types of damages such as compensation for work time lost due to the injury and even pain, and suffering. In most cases, the responsible driver’s automobile insurance covers these damages.

To protect both your health and your personal injury claim, you will need to take certain steps. These include making a police report and promptly seeking medical attention for any injuries.

Shortly after the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you. This is a risky time, because the insurance company’s goal is generally to minimize or avoid paying out compensation. Therefore, it is in your best interest to talk to an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer before you engage with the other party’s insurance company. It is also best to avoid talking too much about the accident on social media, or even to friends, until you have received advice from a trusted attorney.

How Your Charleston Car Accident Attorney Can Help

When you work with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney like Frank Hartman, the law firm will take much of the stress and groundwork of a car accident claim off your shoulders. Your attorney will take responsibility for everything from managing deadlines and technical requirements in your case to negotiating with the insurance company, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and building the strongest possible case on your behalf.

The earlier we can get started, the better opportunity we will have to gather evidence while it is available and speak to witnesses while their memories are fresh. So don’t delay. It is free and there’s no obligation, so you have nothing to lose by learning more about your rights.

Call 843.300.7600 right now, or fill out the contact form on this page to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Distracted Driving

What are the three types of distracted driving?

Distracted driving is broken into three categories. The first is visual distractions, which may mean looking at a video or GPS in the car, or looking at an accident as you pass, or reading a billboard. Manual distractions involve taking your hands away from the wheel, such as to program your GPS or dial a cell phone or handing something to a child in the back seat. Finally, cognitive distractions are often not recognized by drivers. These include things like daydreaming or conversing with passengers.

Any type of distraction can be dangerous on the road.

How dangerous is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is common, which can lead drivers to think it’s not a serious problem. However, distracted driving plays a role in 8-9% of traffic fatalities. That’s thousands of deaths per year, including hundreds of bicyclists, pedestrians, and others outside the vehicle. Distracted driving also causes or contributes to nearly 250,000 car accident injuries each year.

What type of distracted driving is dangerous?

There’s no safe type of distracted driving. Taking your attention off the road for only a few seconds can be fatal. One of the most dangerous distractions is texting, emailing or chatting on your phone while driving. This is especially dangerous for a combination of reasons, including the fact that texting and similar activity involves both visual and manual distraction. Many drivers don’t realize that in the few seconds it takes to read or type a text message, an automobile covers quite a bit of ground–at 60 mph, about 88 feet per second.

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