According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16% of fatal car crashes in 2008 were caused by driver distraction. The most common form of distraction is the use of your cell phone. Making a call on your cell phone while driving keeps you from thinking quickly and weakens your reflexes because your mind is on the phone call. Texting while driving is even worse because not only is your attention on the message, you avert your eyes for about 5 seconds every time you read or send a text.
Just how bad is texting and driving? A University of Utah study equated texting while driving to driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of almost twice the legal limit. Car and Driver Magazine took the research even further. Eddie Alterman, an editor with the magazine, tested himself under certain conditions going 70 miles per hour. The results are startling! It took Eddie .54 seconds to stop unimpaired. It took him 4 feet longer to stop while legally intoxicated. It took him 36 feet to stop while reading an email on his phone (sober). And it took him 70 feet to stop while sending a text message (sober). It is easy to see just how dangerous cell phones can be while driving.
What does the law say about using your cell phone while driving? It depends on the state since there is no national law pertaining to cell phone use and texting while driving. The state of South Carolina has a Distracted and Inattention element under Contributing Factors for an accident, but there are no limits on cell phone usage or text messaging. Three cities have banned texting within their city limits. They are Camden, Clemson, and Columbia.
The state of Georgia has multiple bans on cell phone use while driving.
- Ban on all cell phone use (hand-held and hands-free) for bus drivers
- Ban on all cell phone use (hand-held and hands-free) for all novice drivers (drivers under the age of 18)
- Ban on texting for ALL drivers
There is the Safe Driver’s Act of 2011 before Congress right now, which would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish minimum regulations banning the use of hand-held cell phones by people operating a motor vehicle on public roads, except in the case of an emergency.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a distracted driver, please contact the Kerr Law Firm at 1-800-350-2990 or locally at 1-843-785-3330. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of initial consultations are free, and you only pay a fee if we win your case.