Driving and texting counts as “distracted driving” in South Carolina
We’ve all done it–or at least I know I have: responded to a quick text while on the way to meet friends or frantically sent an email to a colleague while on the way to another meeting. However, text messaging, or other cell phone use, while driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents and fatalities in the US. South Carolina is one of 11 states without a ban on texting while driving. Certain cities within the state, however, have passed their own laws pertaining to distracted driving. For example, Columbia, Walhalla, and West Union have adopted ordinances which ban the use of handheld cell phone use and texting while driving and will fine drivers who violate the ordinance.
The House has introduced a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. This may well prevent many accidents in South Carolina that are caused by distracted driving.
Recently, there has been much discussion over House Bill 4451 in the South Carolina General Assembly which would outlaw texting while driving. Although much stricter when the bill was first introduced, the bill, as now amended, would impose fines up to $150, but with no points on the offender’s drivers license and no insurance reporting. The anti distracted driving bill exempts voice-operated texting and police are not able to search electronic devices for evidence. A driver who causes an accident while texting and driving will not incur extra penalties and negligence would not be assumed. The bill was approved by the House on March 8th and then sent to the Senate where it was approved by the Judiciary Committee on April 24th. The bill was read for a second time in the Senate on June 6th.
Texting and driving, as well as other forms of distracted driving have lead to deadly statistics in South Carolina.
According to a recent article in The T and D.com (The Times and Democrat), South Carolina lost 62 people in the month of July 2010 alone due to largely preventable reasons such as distracted driving.
A person texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get involved in an accident than a driver who is not texting. In the five seconds your eyes are off the road in order to send a text while driving 55 mph, you will have traveled the length of a football field. Distracted driving, in recent years, has become a habit among our population that is as deadly, if not more so, than drunk driving. Although South Carolina’s House Bill 4451 seems to only be a slap on the wrist for those who choose to text while driving, I believe its at least a step in the right direction. For more information and statistics on distracted driving, visit http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a wreck caused by texting or other distractions, it is important that you speak to an attorney. If you would like to have a free consultation with the Joye Law Firm, please call us at (888)324-3100 or fill out the claim form on this website. For more details about previous results obtained on behalf of those involved in motorcycle accidents by our law firm, please visit www.joyelawfirm.com and click on “our results.”