Distracted Driving

There are so many things in life that are great.
But texting about it can wait!

Start sober. Don't get behind the wheel while impaired — whether it's due to exhaustion, medicine, alcohol or recreational drugs. Drunk/impaired drivers are responsible for approximately 10,000 fatalities a year.

Before the car moves:

  • Plan your route, and set your map or navigation technology before you depart. Don't touch it again until after reaching your destination.
  • Pick your tunes, podcast, station or playlist, and set at a volume that allows you to focus on your driving.
  • Put away your phone, other devices, food, make-up or anything else that might tempt you to take your hands off the wheel.
  • Buckle up-everyone. Unrestrained (unbuckled) occupants make up nearly half of those killed in accidents.

While on the road:

  • Obey speed limits, and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Ask passengers to help you stay focused on everybody's safety. Passengers (especially teens), speak up if the driver gets distracted or drives unsafely.
  • Parents, your children will learn from your behavior. Be the driver you want them to be.

Take the Pledge to NOT Text and Drive.

Join the millions who have already pledged to keep our roads safer by driving distraction free. From checking emails to posting on social media while behind the wheel, all of it can wait. Sign the pledge here.

Just How Bad Is It?

  • South Carolina ranks in the top five in the nation for fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. 
  • 1,002 people died in traffic accident on our state roads in 2019. That equates to one death every nine hours.
  • The Palmetto State ranks in the top 10 for having the worst drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • South Carolina ranks 5th in careless driving and 11th in speeding.
  • National data shows that 64% of all care accidents involve cell phone usage.

Just the Facts

  • In 2017, at least 3,166 lives were lost due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • That same year, distracted driving caused more than a million accidents.
  • Research tells us that phone use, while driving, is known to shift a driver’s  attention more than any other form of distraction in the car.
  • The possibility of having an accident when a driver engages in distracted driving is more than 90% compared to when they drive with their full focus on the road.
  • It’s against the law to text and drive in 48 states, South Carolina included.
  • 1 in every 4 car accidents is cause by distracted driving according to the NHTSA.
  • According to the NHTSA, more than 390,000 injuries happen each year due to accidents involving distracted driving.
  • Texting while driving causes more accidents than driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Best Online Traffic School.
  • Texting reduces attention for at least 5 seconds. That means if you are going 55 mph, it’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.
  • The National Safety Council  estimates that 94% of teens are well informed about the dangers of texting and driving. But yet, 34% of teens surveyed in a NHTSA study admitted to using their phones behind the wheel.

Talk to Your Teen About Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal car crash caused by distracted driving. What role as a parent can you take to reduce the risk that your child will be involved in a car accident because of distracted driving? While you can’t be with your child every minute, you can have an influence on what kind of driver your teen becomes. Read more in the SCDOI’s brochure that helps you talk to your teen about distracted driving. 

Click here for more resources on distracted driving.

The SCDOI’S auto insurance shopper’s guide can be accessed here