News 2 Investigates: how much you can handle while behind the wheel.

By Rebecca Ryan

Thousand make the morning and evening commute between Summerville and Charleston every day.  You won’t believe what our camera caught drivers doing on the roads, particularly through the stretch of I26 known for deadly wrecks.

We loaded into CPL Bob Beres' marked Highway Patrol cruiser at 7:00 AM to see what other drivers were doing while operating their vehicles.

From flossing teeth to jamming to an IPod, the drivers seemingly couldn't resist the urge to multitask. Our cameras catch one driver swerving from line to line on the interstate between Jedburg and Summerville.  When we caught up to him, the driver was nodding along to music and didn't seem to notice or mind our camera or the marked cruiser alongside him. In another instance, one man didn’t know our camera filmed him for more than 11 seconds. 

“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,” CPL. Beres said.

Another driver talked on his cell phone.  In his other hand, a closer look shows dental floss. Instance after instance, News 2 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. 

“There are other distractions that significantly impair our ability to drive safely,” Dr. Cynthia May said.

 Dr. May is a brain expert at the College of Charleston. She says our culture believes some behaviors are ok behind the wheel.  While many of us believe we can multitastk, Dr. May says the brain doesn't work that way.

“We are under the perception we can do two things at once because we shift quickly, but while we shift we move attention from one thing and move to another.  That brief moment can be an accident,” she explained.

“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 didn't pull over any of the drivers we saw, because right now, distracted driving isn't illegal.

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