Posted on 6th Feb 2012 @ 11:24 AM
Distracted driving claims the lives of more people than you may think. Of course, we all know about the dangers of drinking and driving, but what about other distractions? The worst distractions are the ones about which we do not even think. For example, blasting loud music, applying make-up, smoking, eating, drinking (non-alcoholic beverage), can all lead to a greater risk for car accidents. In fact, many experts claim that partaking in any of the aforementioned activities while driving can simulate the same distraction as drinking an ounce of alcohol.
In South Carolina, hundreds of people make the morning and afternoon commute between Summerville and Charleston every day. Some do it for work, some people go to see the sights of Charleston, and others just want to go for a drive. A recent news investigation, which was conducted using a marked police car with a camera inside the vehicle, managed to catch several instances of distracted driving. The distracted driving was seen from many different drivers in many locations, including an area along I26 which is known for several bad car accidents.
The investigation started at 7:00AM, and yielded results that were frankly disturbing. Drivers were doing everything from flossing teeth to jamming to an iPod, all while behind the wheel of their cars. It was as if drivers just could not resist the urge to multitask. In one recorded instance, a man can be seen swerving in between lanes as he drives on the interstate between Jedburg and Summerville. When the reporters caught up to him, it was revealed that he was listening to music on his headphones, likely too loud for him to notice that there was a marked police cruiser driving behind him and right up along next to him. In another moment, a man was too distracted to notice that the reporting crew was able to record his driving for 11 seconds. .
In a statement regarding distracted driving and its dangers, Police Corporal Bob Beres said “A text message takes four to six seconds to send. In that time, we travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour.”
In another moment, cameras caught a distracted driver blabbing away on his cell phone. Then, in that same driver’s other hand, a packet of dental floss can be clearly seen. Instance after instance, the investigative reporters captured drivers taking care of their reading, their phone calls, and finishing their breakfast, putting on make-up or waking up with coffee during the morning commute.
Even drivers in big trucks used earphones and electronic devices while driving on the Interstate.
“The biggest question is when will this be a law? We don't need a law to know it's dangerous. Are you going to keep running off the road and doing it until it becomes a law?” Beres asked.
CPL Beres was not able to pull over and distribute tickets to any of the drivers captured on video. The reason for this is because, at this moment, distracted driving is not a crime.