I posted this article last fall, but I thought it was important enough that I wanted to share it again! We have also added a few updates including information about:
2) Our new App: the app we hope you never have to use! Download NOW!
The start of a new school year is always a very hectic time for parents and their children. Morning and afternoon commutes mean carpools and new drivers making the trip to and from school. Young drivers are faced with several sources of distractions, taking their eyes and minds off the road.
With increased traffic on the roads, it is important to lessen the chance of distraction inside the car. A few seconds without eyes on the road or hands on the wheels could be the difference between a safe drive and an accident. If you are in an accident, be sure to have our new app on your smartphone to help ensure you follow the proper procedures and obtain all evidence and information that may be needed at a later date. Information gathering at the scene of the accident is CRITICAL and our app can assist you in this process, even if you take that information somewhere else! Learn more from this video.
Cell Phone Usage While Driving and the NEW SC BAN
Cell phones today are capable of much more than solely communication. Mobile devices link their owners to the Internet, providing a wealth of information at their fingertips. It is no wonder that the majority of people cannot keep their eyes or hands off their cell phones. But losing focus is critically dangerous when behind the wheel. In June, South Carolina passed a new ban on composing text-based messages while driving. Click here to learn more.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in 2010 that drivers ages 16 to 24 were more likely to use a handheld mobile device. Reaction time is also affected by cell phone usage. A young driver who is talking on a cell phone has the reaction time of a 70-year-old.
Healthday.com, an award winning health news organization, administered a survey in 2011 that focused on distracted driving. The results revealed that:
- 37% or over one third of drivers had read or written new texts while driving, and 18% of those drivers did so on a regular basis.
- 13% of drivers used the Internet while driving.
- Young drivers are more likely to engage in distracted driving.
The statistics show that cell phones can be a major source of distraction behind the wheel. However, a cell phone provides a link of communication in the case of an emergency. The AAA’s Keys2Drive program suggests that young drivers should cut their cell phones off while driving.
More People, More Distraction
A new driver’s license is an exciting time and young drivers might want to have their friends along to ride. However, young drivers should limit how many people they have in the car. A lack of experience can lead to easily being distracted.
AAA found that a 16 or 17 year old driver was 44% more likely to be in a fatal car accident with one passenger under the age of 21. This risk is doubled when the number of young passengers is two or more. The AAA also found that an adult presence in the car (an individual 35 years or older) cut the risk by 60%.
Young drivers should also be aware of their limitations if they are driving with a beginner, restricted or conditional license. SC law requires that young drivers with a beginner’s permit be accompanied by an adult over 21 from 6am to midnight and be accompanied by a parent or guardian between midnight a 6am. With a Conditional or Restricted license, young drivers can be alone from 6am to 6pm. Between 6pm and midnight, an adult over 21 must accompany the young driver and a parent or guardian is to be present from midnight to 6am.
Reckless Driving and Distractions
Distractions are plenty and take our attention off the road. Distracted driving can be considered reckless driving. Reckless driving in South Carolina is defined as driving in a manner that shows disregard for the safety of others. This includes tailgating, speeding, running a red light and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Texting while driving is also considered reckless driving in South Carolina.Texting while speeding means a driver has their eyes off the road, traveling a great distance without looking. Five seconds without eyes on the road is enough time to travel the length of a football field blind.
The CDC compiled a fact sheet on teen drivers and reckless driving. Their findings also reported:
- Young drivers underestimate how dangerous a situation is as compared to older drivers.
- It was also reported that teens are more likely to speed and allow shorter distances for cars to pass.
- In regards to drinking, teens are also more likely than older drivers to risk crashing at all blood alcohol concentration levels.
Guidance and education are the best tools for the young driver. Informing new drivers of the risks of cell phone usage, texting and reckless driving will help them make better decisions and become better drivers. Parents and guardians can help by setting a good example when driving and making sure they point out when their young driver makes bad and good decisions while driving. At Elrod Pope Law Firm, but if you or your young driver should suffer from a car accident, we’re here for you.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.