A rear-end collision in Bluffton, South Carolina (SC), illustrates how drivers distracted by things other than texting on smartphones and talking on handheld cell phones present clear and ever-present dangers.
The June 6, 2014, accident occurred at the intersection of Bluffton Parkway and Okatie Highway, which is also known as SC 170. The two occupants of the car hit from behind sustained injuries severe enough to require hospital treatment. Speaking with police after the wreck, the at-fault driver told police she had looked away from the traffic ahead of her while reaching for a pair of eyeglasses. She did not see vehicles slowing down in time to prevent the crash.
Any distraction of any duration sets the stage for an automobile accident that can result in serious injury or death. While the wreck in South Carolina did not have tragic consequences, it was entirely avoidable. Merely keeping her eyes and mind on her most important tasks of controlling her car and responding to changing traffic conditions would have kept the at-fault driver from hitting and hospitalizing two other people.
As personal injury lawyers who have helped hundreds of people in the Carolinas hurt by distracted drivers, we know that nothing protects individuals more than the attention of other drivers. We are pleased to note that a few days before the Bluffton accident, South Carolina lawmakers voted to pass the state's first specific band on texting and driving. That law, while overdue, will have little effect if those using the roads in the Palmetto State do not resist all distractions while behind the wheel.