COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- We've all seen it and you might be guilty of it while driving. Talking on the cell phone, sending a text message, using GPS or eating. They are all examples of distracted driving.
Researchers found 88 percent of drivers are using their phones while behind the wheel. One in three are engaged in unsafe driving behaviors in a school zone. Lance Corporal David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said, "It creates a dangerous environment because you are focused on your phone and that text message or that phone call rather than focused on the children around you."
Troopers say the distracted driving is not only dangerous, but it could be deadly. "Well even though you are only going 20 miles per hour, you are covering a lot of distance at 20 miles per hour. That's faster than you think. And with a 10 thousand pound car going 20 miles per hour, that's thousands and thousands of pounds of force behind it," according to Jones.
In September, we told you about a study that pinpoints the nations worst counties for distracted drivers. It was put together by Zendrive, a tech company that measures driver safety using phone sensors. It gave out letter grades to show how frequently drivers are using their phones near schools. News 19 took a closer look to see how some counties in the Midlands stack up.
A- No County received an A
C - Sumter, Richland, Kershaw, Lexington and Orangeburg
D - Clarendon
The company developed the map using data from April 2017 on aggressive acceleration, hard braking and distracted phone use. It studied almost 4 million drivers cruising near 75,000 schools.
All this date is now collected online for anyone to access. You can type in a school and see how the safe the roads are around the school. (NOTE: Data for all counties and schools is not in).
The CEO of Zendrive, Jonathan Matus, hopes parents will take any failing grades to their school boards and law enforcement. He said, "It's their duty to keep our kids safe. And now we can give them a scorecard and keep them accountable and help them focus the resources to areas that really need that attention."
It's also our responsibility as drivers to make sure students are safe. Jones said, " All too often we see these crashes that could have been avoided if people just paid attention and put their phone down."
Learn more about the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot here.
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