According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused the death of 2,841 people in 2018. If you suspect distracted driving may have led to your car wreck, discover some ways to determine if distracted driving played a role in your accident.
Recognize Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is anything that removes your attention from driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC classifies distractions into the following categories:
- Visual: A visual distraction is something that takes your eyes off of the road, such as looking at a child in the back seat or beautiful scenery out the window.
- Manual: A manual distraction is anything that takes your hands off of the steering wheel, such as eating or drinking while driving.
- Cognitive: A cognitive distraction is something that takes your mind off of driving, such as engaging in a spirited phone conversation or thinking about your day ahead.
If you text while driving, many consider this the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it includes all three categories of distractions. When you text while driving, you likely look down at your phone, which is a visual distraction. You may use your fingers to text, which serves as a manual distraction. You also think about the message, so it is also a cognitive distraction.
Know the Law
Recognizing the dangers that texting while driving poses, South Carolina lawmakers passed a law that prohibits drivers from using any wireless communication device to prepare, send, or read text messages while they drive on a public street or highway in South Carolina.
The ban on texting while driving is considered a primary law, so law enforcement can stop a person whom they suspect of committing this offense. However, the law does not apply if the driver is:
- Parked legally
- Using a hands-free device
- Attempting to get emergency assistance
- Using a GPS system
If you suspect that the other driver violated the law, mention this to the law enforcement officer who investigates your accident, as well as to your South Carolina personal injury lawyer. They can take steps to determine if the other driver illegally used their phone and whether this may have contributed to your accident.
While you are at the scene of the accident, take steps to gather evidence that may indicate distracted driving may have played a role in your accident. In particular, do the following at the scene of the accident:
- Talk to eyewitnesses to determine if they saw the other driver on a phone or otherwise distracted before the accident.
- Take note of any nearby traffic cameras or surveillance cameras that could have captured the other driver.
- Write down anything that the other driver says, such as if they admit they were distracted.
- Photograph the damage to the vehicles since a rear-end accident is often from a distracted driver who didn’t pay attention.
As you progress through your claim, you will also want to keep track of all records that indicate how you were injured and the expenses you had to pay because of the accident. You may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Talk to a Skilled South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
When you hire a personal injury lawyer in South Carolina, they can begin taking steps to preserve relevant evidence in your claim. Your lawyer may send a formal request for cell phone records or subpoena them if distracted driving may have played a role in your accident. Contact us to receive a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.