In 2018, distracted driving cost 62 lives in the State of South Carolina. That number does not include the thousands of injuries and crashes resulting from cell phone use behind the wheel. If one state legislator has his way, individuals who hold their phone to talk, text, or scroll their social media while driving would be breaking the law.
Representative Bill Taylor introduced a Driving Under the Influence of Electronics bill (DUIE) making it illegal to use your cell phone behind the wheel. If the DUIE bill passes, distracted drivers would receive a $200 ticket for a first offense. The law would not penalize drivers who are using their phones hand-free or in an emergency situation to contact the police.
How Distractions Endanger Lives
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider distracted driving a threat to public health, based on the fact that every day in this country, at least nine people die in wrecks involving a distracted driver. It only takes a few seconds for a distracted driver to cause an accident. That about as long as it takes for you to glance down at a text.
If you are traveling at a speed of 55 miles-per-hour while looking at your phone for five seconds, that is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded. You can not see or avoid hazards, and by the time you do, it may be too late.
South Carolina Distracted Driving Statistics
As it stands now, texting while driving is considered a secondary offense in the state of South Carolina, costing offenders no more than a $25 fine. The DUIE bill is much more comprehensive, penalizing drivers who even reach for their phone in an unsafe manner while moving.
If you wonder how extensive the distracted driving problem is in South Carolina, consider the numbers. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, distracted driving caused more than 17,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than 7,000 injuries in the year 2017. In 331 of these accidents, cell phones or texting were specifically reported to be a factor. That same year, 51 lives were lost in distracted driving crashes.
Georgia and DUIE Legislation
Representative Taylor and his colleagues are following the lead of the state of Georgia. Last year, Georgia passed their own DUIE legislation, with noticeable results. Since their DUIE law went into effect, they have written 699 tickets.
And while law enforcement officials have noticed an increase in hands-free driving as awareness grows about DUIE laws, not all Georgia drivers are getting the message about the dangers of distracted driving. Since Georgia passed their DUIE law legislation, officers have responded to nearly 5,000 car accidents, many of them the result of inattentive driving.
Already approved by a House subcommittee, the South Carolina DUIE bill has been sent to the House Education and Public Works Committee for further review.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Pursue Maximum Compensation for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
Drivers who insist on using their phones while driving endanger the lives of others. If you have been injured by a reckless driver, trust the experienced and dedicated Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. to advocate for you and seek the maximum compensation for your injuries. To discuss your accident with a compassionate and caring Columbia car accident lawyer, call (803) 929-3600 or contact the firm using an online form.
We represent clients injured in wrecks throughout South Carolina, including those in the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.