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Distracted driving on the job may be common

Many people in South Carolina are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Texting or surfing the internet while behind the wheel can lead to serious and even fatal car accidents. Nonetheless, despite public awareness campaigns and increased law enforcement attention to the problem, it still continues to be a growing threat to roadway safety. One study by Motus indicates that the mobile workforce may also contribute to the distracted driving danger. As smartphone ownership has increased among workers spending time on the road, expectations for their connectivity have grown. In addition, car accident rates have risen at the same time.

As of 2013, 55 percent of mobile workers owned a smartphone, and in 2017, that number grew to 77 percent. During that same five-year period, car accidents increased in number from 5.7 million to 6.4 million, a 12.3 percent increase. According to the study, mobile workers make 49 percent more car trips than other workers, taking to the road more frequently than other Americans do. In addition, mobile phone use while driving is at its highest point in the mid-afternoon, one of the busiest times of the workday for remote workers. The researchers concluded that each mobile worker travels around 1,200 miles each year while distracted by a smartphone.

The costs of distracted driving can be significant. In addition to dealing with the legal expenses and lost worker days, employers also have to pay for any medical and property damage costs. According to the study, the expense of crashes adds up to around $4,400 per mobile worker driving his or her own car.

Of course, the costs of distracted driving can be much heavier for car accident victims. They can include severe injuries and permanent disabilities. A personal injury lawyer can help people injured due to someone else's distracted driving seek compensation for their damages, including lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.

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