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Distracted driving a major factor in motor vehicle wrecks

Even before the invention of cellular phones, drivers have often allowed activities to take their focus off of the road. Unfortunately, the advances of technology have increased distracted driving -- even though motorists admit it is a serious problem. In an effort to combat this growing problem, South Carolina and other states are looking at ways to educate drivers.

A recent study revealed how wide spread distracted driving has become. The report, the 2018 Travelers Risk Index, highlighted the growing discrepancy between motorists understanding of the dangers of inattentive driving and their behavior behind the wheel. More than 85 percent acknowledged that distracted driving poses a serious risk, but approximately 40 percent admitted they often allowed technology to take their attention while driving. These motorists estimated that for every hour they were behind the wheel, about one-quarter of that time was spent focusing on phones or other devices.

The rate of accidents attributed to cell phone usage has continued to climb. One state alone reported that between the years of 2012 to 2016, there were an estimated 1,040 crashes that were caused by drivers using cell phones. Of those wrecks, 19 involved fatalities and more than 4,497 people were injured. Along with injuries to drivers and passengers, the increased costs of vehicle and property repairs have lead to higher insurance premiums across the country.

There are ways to avoid distracted driving and the risks that this poses to others. Drivers can store their phones or activate apps that will disable texting and calls with preprogrammed responses. Parents of teen drivers are urged to educate their children and model proper behaviors while driving. Sadly, not every motorist will exercise due diligence while driving and there may be many South Carolina travelers who will suffer injuries in these types of accidents. Victims can pursue compensation for their financial damages by filing a successful personal injury lawsuit against the parties deemed responsible for those losses.

Source: ktvz.com, "Study: Many distracted drivers think they aren't", April 13, 2018

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