April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to Distraction.gov, the Official US government website for distracted driving, distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. The website gives the following examples of things that could cause you to be distracted while driving:
Texting while driving is one of the most distracting activities that you can engage in while driving. This is because sending a text message requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. According to the website, there was a slight decline in the number of people killed in distraction-affected automobile accidents between 2011 and 2012. That is the good news. The bad news is that despite this decline, 3,328 people were still killed in 2012 with distracted driving being a factor. In addition to the 3,328 people killed in 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver in 2012.
Many states and/or cities throughout the country have introduced texting while driving bans in an effort to combat this dangerous activity. Last year the City of Charleston and the Town of Mt. Pleasant passed a city and town ordinance respectively banning texting while driving. Earlier this month, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed what could be South Carolina's first statewide texting-while-driving ban.
A violation of this statute could come into play in civil lawsuits because the violation of a statute, which has the essential purpose of protecting persons such as the injured party from the kind of harm suffered, amounts to negligence per se on the part of the defendant. In South Carolina, negligence per se is some evidence of recklessness and willfulness that requires submission of the issue of punitive damages to the jury.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Charleston, SC or the surrounding areas with someone you think was texting while driving, call Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC to consult with a Charleston, SC Car Accident Lawyer today.