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Distracted drivers, a state and national concern

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is currently underway, and more information is being provided to the public in an effort to enlighten drivers to the dangers of behind the wheel distractions. Distracted drivers are a major concern in South Carolina and across the country. While drivers of all ages are affected by things that draw their attention from the road, the age group most troubled by in-vehicle distractions are those drivers in their teenage years.

A recent study, in which 1,700 video cameras were placed in cars driven by young drivers, produced results that showed distracted driving among teens is a larger problem than previously thought. According to the research, it was found that approximately six out of every 10 accidents involving young drivers -- those under the age of 20 -- were the result of inattentive behavior. This is a significant increase over the data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that suggested only 14 percent of teenage involved accidents were the result of behind the wheel distractions.

There are a number of things that may draw a driver's attention from the road. With handheld electronic devices and advanced features in automobiles, the temptation to look away from the road is greater than ever before. However, while electronic devices are considered a major distraction, this most recent study found that passenger interaction caused more accidents than any other attention grabbing activity.

Distracted drivers, whether in their teenage years or older, can cause serious injuries -- or worse -- to themselves, their passengers and others with whom they share the road. Those who have been injured or lost a loved one due to another's negligent behavior behind the wheel retain the right to pursue legal claims against the individual believed responsible. Personal injury, wrongful death or other appropriate legal claims can be filed in a South Carolina civil court. If litigated successfully, monetary relief for any economic and/or non-economic damages deemed recoverable under applicable state laws may be granted.

Source: technologytell.com, "Teen distracted driving and auto crashes worse than expected", Charles Moore, April 5, 2015

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