South Carolina has been ranked the third deadliest state in the nation for fatal car accidents. A recent study found that Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina have the highest number of fatal car wrecks in the country. There is an average of 20.5 people per 100,000 who are fatally injured in car accidents each year in South Carolina, which is almost double the national average.
While the study looked at a variety of causes for the deadly car accidents, ten percent of all fatalities were directly related to distracted driving. Cell phone use involving phone calls, texting, and navigation apps is the number one driving distraction.
Distracted Driving and Prevention
South Carolina has laws against texting while driving, but currently, there are no laws prohibiting the overall use of handheld phones while driving. The current law does not seem to do much to deter people from grabbing their cell phones while they are behind the wheel. The reason may be that the penalty for distracted driving in South Carolina is a mere $25 fine. In 2016, South Carolina law enforcement officials issued only 53 tickets for distracted driving.
In comparison, Delaware issued over 13,000 distracted driving citations in 2016, which carried a fine of $100 and points on the driver’s license. The state of Alaska did not issue any citations for distracted driving in 2016, but penalties for breaking the cell phone ban in the state carries a fine of $10,000 and possible incarceration.
South Carolina lawmakers are making efforts to deter distracted driving in the state. A bill that would prohibit the use of cell phones while driving was introduced in January, but it did not make it to the Senate in time for passing this year. If the Senate does endorse the bill in 2019, drivers in South Carolina who use cell phones behind the wheel will be charged with “driving under the influence of an electronic device,” or DUI-E. Fines and penalties are expected to significantly increase.
In the meantime, South Carolina drivers are encouraged to take a stand and reduce their risk of getting into a serious or fatal car accident by committing to following safety advice:
- Turn off your phone and put it out of reach before starting the car.
- Focus your attention to the task of driving, with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
- Become an advocate for policies and strict laws against distracted driving.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Families Who Have Lost a Loved One in a Distracted Driving Accident
If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, toll-free at 866-881-8623, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in the communities 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 counties 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.