South Carolina Drivers Ranked Second-Worst in Nation

South Carolina drivers

Website Declares South Carolina Drivers Number 2 in Nation for Worst Driving

South Carolina driversA new report through the website CarInsuranceComparison.com claims that South Carolina drivers are among the worst in the nation.

According to the website, the survey gathered data using 5 criteria: fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, failure to obey, drunk driving, number of issued tickets, and careless, or reckless, driving.

South Carolina drivers were the worst when it came to careless driving, which looked at pedestrians and cyclists killed per 100,000 people. The statistic came from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. The state’s drivers are also next to the bottom for percentage of fatalities related to alcohol, and fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Only Louisiana’s drivers ranked worse than South Carolina drivers, because the state’s drivers were worse at obeying traffic signals and wearing seatbelts, and received more tickets.

The list’s worst drivers come from Southern States. The complete list is:

1. Louisiana

2. South Carolina

3. Mississippi

4. Texas

5. Alabama

6. Florida

7. Missouri

8. North Carolina

9. Montana

10. North Dakota

11. Oklahoma

12. Nevada

13. Tennessee

14. Georgia

15. Pennsylvania

South Carolina Drivers Have Their Own Notorious YouTube Channel

A YouTube user and SC resident has chronicled, on film, how bad South Carolina Drivers actually are.

User HaloMasterMind117 reportedly used a dashcam to capture over 100 videos, all posted to his channel, of terrible South Carolina drivers.

“This is a channel devoted to exposing bad drivers. I also try to use it for educational purposes on driving safety,” HaloMasterMind117’s YouTube bio says. “I mainly film around the greater Columbia, SC area, but I have ventured to cities such as but not limited to Rock Hill, Greenwood, Florence, Orangeburg, Charleston, and Georgetown.”

“… I have lived in both New York City and Los Angeles, each for about 4 years, so please do not tell me that I should visit there.”

Despite South Carolina drivers’ terrible reputation, however, many counties and cities in the state are making an effort to curb the problem. Charleston recently passed a ban on texting and driving, after several counties and townships around the large city banned the practice. The state legislature is now considering similar legislation for the entirely of South Carolina. Police forces regularly crack down on drunk drivers, including the notorious 5 Points area of Columbia, as well.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help South Carolina Drivers with Reckless Driving and Accident-Related Charges

South Carolina drivers face serious penalties from law enforcement if they practice reckless driving, drunk or impaired driving, or fail to use their seatbelts. In SC, if you accumulate a total of 12 points your license may be suspended.  Your license may also be suspended if you fail to pay your traffic ticket within 12 months of the day it is issued.

If you have been pulled over and charged with reckless driving, distracted driving, texting while driving, or other traffic offenses, you may need a solid defense to help lower your ticket or keep you out of jail. Whether you are charged with a two-point violation, four-point violation, or even a six-point violation, you need to make sure that your driver’s license is protected. Defense attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800

Mars Candy Company Co-Owner Pleads Guilty to Fatal Reckless Driving

Heir to Mars Candy Company Fortune Pleads Guilty in Court to Reckless Driving Charge which Caused Fatalities

mars candyBillionaire co-owner and heiress to Mars Candy Company fortune Jacqueline Badger Mars pleaded guilty on Thursday, December 5th, to a reckless driving charge in connection with a fatal accident that occurred in October of this year.

The reckless driving charge stems from a fatal crash on October 4th, in which Mars’s 2004 Porsche SUV collided with a minivan. The accident killed the passenger, 86-year-old Irene C. Ellisor of Huntsville, TX, who was not wearing a seatbelt, as well as the unborn child of driver Ashley Blakeslee.

Blakeslee was seriously injured as a result of the crash, which caused her to lose her unborn son. She was 8 months pregnant at the time of the reckless driving accident.

The group was in Virginia for Blakeslee’s brother’s wedding.

“I know I can’t go back in time. I can’t change what happened,” Mars said. “I will always live with the grief and loss caused by this tragedy.”

According to court records, Mars said that she fell asleep at the wheel just before the midday crash. She had not been drinking or using drugs, and her phone records showed that she had not been using her cell phone at the time of the accident. Witnesses to the accident said that Mars had not been speeding or driving erratically prior to the accident. Before her fatal reckless driving incident, Mrs. Mars had a perfect driving record.

Mars avoided jail time, and agreed to pay $2,500 to the family. Her driver’s license was also suspended for 6 months. Reportedly, Mars flew to Texas to apologize to the whole family directly, and at her hearing on Thursday, the Blakeslees pleaded for Mars to avoid jail time, saying they had forgiven her.

“We have only forgiveness in our hearts for her,” Sharon Acker, Ashley’s mother, said, her voice trembling. “My husband and I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Mars for her kindness thus far and hope in time that she, too, will find peace.”

Ken Jarrell, a Mars family spokesman, said that Mrs. Mars provided “appropriate financial assistance” to the family on top of the penalty for her reckless driving charge, but he declined to discuss details. No civil suit has been filed against Mars.

Reckless Driving and Other Traffic Offenses in South Carolina

Common South Carolina Traffic Offenses Include:

  • speeding,
  • following too closely,
  • driving with a suspended license, DUS
  • DUI,
  • driving without insurance,
  • careless driving, and
  • reckless driving.

Many people do not consider that in addition to your traffic citation, you can lose points off of your driver’s license and you may be forced to pay increased insurance premiums.

When making your decision about how to best handle your traffic ticket, you need to make sure that you understand the consequences of your conviction.  A plea of guilty, nolo contendere, which means that you are not admitting guilt but that you do not contest the charge, or simply forfeiting your bond are all considered a conviction in South Carolina.

In SC, if you accumulate a total of 12 points your license may be suspended.  Your license may also be suspended if you fail to pay your traffic ticket within 12 months of the day it is issued.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Reckless Driving Charges

If you have been pulled over and charged with reckless driving, distracted driving, texting while driving, or other traffic offenses, you may need a solid defense to help lower your ticket or keep you out of jail. Whether you are charged with a two-point violation, four-point violation, or even a six-point violation, you need to make sure that your driver’s license is protected. Defense attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800

Woman Issued Distracted Driving Ticket for Google Glass Fights Back

Google Glass Pioneer Issued Distracted Driving Ticket for Wearing Google Glass, Says She Will Fight Charge

google glassA woman issued a ticket for distracted driving in California says that she will fight the charge, because simply wearing Google Glass is not illegal and does not imply impairment to her driving.

In a tweet about the incident, Cecelia Abadie, one of the pioneers behind Google Glass, said that she pleaded not guilty to the distracted driving charge in court on Tuesday, December 2nd. She acknowledges that she was wearing the high-tech augmented reality specs while driving, but she insists that the device was powered off at the time so she could focus on the road.

Her attorney says that she will testify in traffic court in January that the Google Glass device was powered off while she was driving, but it activated again when she looked up at the arresting officer. Abadie claimed in November that “the law is not clear, the laws are very outdated” when it comes to technology. Many states are just now catching up with cell phones and smart phones, using distracted driving and reckless driving to help prevent cell phone use, and specifically banning texting and driving or talking while driving.

Police records show that Abadie was actually pulled over for speeding, but the officer added the additional distracted driving citation because he saw the Google Glass. California Highway Patrolman Marc Hale, who issued the ticket, countered that claim by saying that “anything that takes your attention away from the motoring public in front of you is a distraction.” Hale used a California law stating that “if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen” is visible, then police can issue a distracted driving charge.

Her ticket also shows that she was driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone.

California court will now have to decide if simply wearing Google Glass while driving should be illegal.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Greenville Considers Cell Phone Ban to Prevent Distracted Driving

cell phone

Greenville Considers Ban on Cell Phones in Drivers’ Hands, to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

cell phoneGreenville, SC is considering a ban on using cell phones for any reason while driving, to help prevent distracted driving accidents in the city’s streets.

The city created a task force to look at driving safety. On Monday, December 2nd, Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth said that the task force determined that a ban on texting and driving did not do enough to prevent distracted driving accidents and fatalities, and the only way to keep Greenville citizens safe would be to ban using a cell phone for any reason while driving. However, the task force did say that hands-free talking, with a blue tooth device or with speaker phone on, would be allowed.

Councilwoman Jil Littlejohn questioned the task force’s position, noting that there are many causes of distracted driving, including changing the radio station.

More than a dozen cities and counties in South Carolina have banned texting and driving so far this year, but none of them have passed bans on using cell phones in cars to prevent distracted driving.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The statistics on distracted driving nationwide are staggering:

  • 20 percent of crashes which resulted in an injury involved a report of distracted driving
  • of the deaths in distracted related driving accidents, 995 involved a report that the driver was using a cell phone
  • in 2009, 5,474 people were killed on US roadways and an estimated additional 448, 000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers involved the under 20 age group
  • Drivers who use hand held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves
  • using a cell phone while driving, whether its hand held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a BAC of .08, the legal limit!

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Charleston Area Woman Arrested in Hit-and-Run, Bicyclist in Critical Condition

bicyclist

West Ashley Woman Arrested as Suspect in Hit-and-Run that Injured Bicyclist

bicycleCharleston County police have arrested a woman who they believe was involved in a hit-and-run earlier this week, which left a bicyclist in critical condition.

Katherine Anne Mosson, 26, was arrested on Friday, November 22nd, and charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in injury/death, and an improper lane change.

According to police reports, the incident occurred around 12:45 AM on Sunday, November 17th, near St. Andrew’s Boulevard. The bicyclist, 29-year-old Terrell Wright, was traveling north in the bicycle lane when he was hit by a car. Police say that the vehicle fled the scene after the accident, constituting a hit-and-run, but a piece of the car was left behind. Officers later identified the piece of the car as a charcoal gray Honda Accord between model years 2003 and 2007.

Police say that Mosson drives a gray 2005 Honda Accord, registered in her name. Police identified the missing pieces as part of the fender on the front passenger side.

Wright’s family says Terrell has serious swelling of the brain and on Monday, November 18th, he was put on a respirator.

Mosson is currently held at the Charleston County Jail pending a bond hearing.

Hit-and-Run Accidents in South Carolina

Hit-and-run accidents are an all too common problem. Many times hit-and-runs result in not only damages to the vehicle, but also injuries to victims. Injured victims can be left with expensive medical bills and no compensation.

South Carolina law requires drivers to stop after an accident, even if the accident is with a parked car. Pedestrian accidents are no exception. If a driver fails to stop, they may be subject to criminal prosecution. Failure to stop is a felony when the victim suffers serious bodily injury or death. Following a hit-and-run, victims may be left with injuries and no insurance information from the at fault driver. For this reason, South Carolina drivers are required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage.

It is especially important for drivers to stop at the scene of an accident when a pedestrian or bicyclist has been hit, because these people are less protected than other drivers or passengers in a car.

Unfortunately, injuries from bike accidents are very common.  Negligent drivers send several hundred thousand cyclists to the hospital every year.  Some riders protect themselves by wearing a helmet and obeying traffic laws, but sometimes that is not enough to prevent serious injury from a bike accident.

Bike accidents most often lead to:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head trauma, including traumatic brain injury
  • Road rash
  • And sometimes death

When cars collide with pedestrians, serious injury often occurs. Pedestrian accidents are common in areas where there is both high pedestrian traffic and high motor vehicle traffic.

A pedestrian accident can result in people being killed on crosswalks, sidewalks, median strips, and traffic islands.  The most serious pedestrian accident injuries result from pedestrians making contact with vehicle bumpers, hoods, or the windshield of a passing car or truck.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents

Many times insurance companies will dispute hit-and-run claims leaving victims with mounting medical bills and no way to pay them. Other times, insurance companies will pay hit-and-run accident victims far less than they deserve. If you were injured resulting from a hit-and-run, the South Carolina Accident lawyers at the Strom Law Firm can help you. While you focus on getting better, we will focus on getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today or fill out a free web form to see how we can help you. 803.252.4800

Car Lands on Roof, Driver Arrested for Reckless Driving

Car Goes Airborne, Lands on Roof in Forest Acres, Driver Arrested for Reckless Driving and Other Charges

roofOne man has been arrested on several charges, including reckless driving, after he caused the vehicle he was driving to go airborne, and land on the roof of a home in Forest Acres.

Antwon Ashley, 21, was taken into custody overnight on Sunday, November 24th. He has been charged with reckless driving, driving under suspension, hit and run with property damage, failure to stop for blue lights, littering, and trafficking in crack cocaine.

Police also claim that Ashley is a gang member.

According to current police investigations, Ashley was part of an illegal drug transaction that occurred about 2 AM on Saturday near Senate and Heidt Streets. As he drove away, a police officer noticed that the car did not have its headlights on and was driving erratically, so the officer attempted to pull Ashley over. However, Ashley did not stop for the officer, and ended up hitting an embankment after a sharp turn, which launched the vehicle into the air, and the car landed on a roof.

Reportedly, the family was home at the time, but no injuries were reported.

“At 2:30 a.m. we heard a loud bang,” homeowner Steve Taylor said. “It woke us up, we didn’t know what was going on and I walked out the front door and there were two policemen in the yard and one of them informed me there was a car on our roof. And I stepped out into the yard and looked back up and there was a car on the roof and it was alarming as you can imagine.”

A crane removed the car from the family’s roof at around 6 AM. Crack cocaine and cash were recovered from inside the vehicle as evidence, but Ashley himself was nowhere to be found.

Another suspect has been arrested for providing false information to the police. The vehicle was registered in her name, according to officers, although the woman’s name has not been released to the public.

Ashley is currently being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Reckless Driving and Other Traffic Offenses in South Carolina

Common South Carolina Traffic Offenses Include:

  • speeding,
  • following too closely,
  • driving with a suspended license, DUS
  • DUI,
  • driving without insurance,
  • careless driving, and
  • reckless driving.

Many people do not consider that in addition to your traffic citation, you can lose points off of your driver’s license and you may be forced to pay increased insurance premiums.

When making your decision about how to best handle your traffic ticket, you need to make sure that you understand the consequences of your conviction.  A plea of guilty, nolo contendere, which means that you are not admitting guilt but that you do not contest the charge, or simply forfeiting your bond are all considered a conviction in South Carolina.

In SC, if you accumulate a total of 12 points your license may be suspended.  Your license may also be suspended if you fail to pay your traffic ticket within 12 months of the day it is issued.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Reckless Driving Charges

If you have been pulled over and charged with reckless driving, distracted driving, texting while driving, or other traffic offenses, you may need a solid defense to help lower your ticket or keep you out of jail. Whether you are charged with a two-point violation, four-point violation, or even a six-point violation, you need to make sure that your driver’s license is protected. Defense attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800

Thanksgiving Traffic Will Be Thicker than Ever in South Carolina

traffic

This Thanksgiving Holiday, More South Carolinians Than Ever Will Hit the Road, Expect Traffic

trafficAccording to AAA of the Carolinas, about 567,000 motorists in South Carolina will drive to and from Thanksgiving day celebrations over the national 5 day holiday.

The motor club also said that 630,000 South Carolinians will travel for Thanksgiving, which is slightly up from the last few years – and most of them will be in the car.

The estimate from AAA covers only Thanksgiving travelers that the group believes will travel 50 miles or more. Motorists will compose about 90% of the Thanksgiving holiday travelers, which means worse traffic this year.

The Thanksgiving period is defined as between Wednesday, November 27th, and Sunday, December 1st. The highest number of holiday travelers depart on Wednesday (37%), and most will return on  Sunday (33%). Air travel departure times are a little earlier, with most Thanksgiving travelers leaving on Monday, November 25th, and expected to return the following Monday, November 2nd.

Because the holiday is 5 days long, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for drivers. Increased traffic significantly raises the risk of car accidents. Last year, 13 people died in car crashes while traveling for Thanksgiving in South Carolina, which was an 8% increase for the annual average traffic fatalities for the rest of 2012.

“As a traditional family holiday, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel weekend of the year,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Drivers should expect heavy congestion and plan on taking more time to reach their destination.”

Although Thanksgiving is always a busy and therefore dangerous driving holiday, this year traffic volume will be larger due to lower gas prices. Additionally, more people are expected to drive because not as many people have purchased plane tickets for travel, despite airline prices being 1% lower than last year.

To help Thanksgiving travelers reduce stress and stay safe, the SC State Transport Police, the SC Trucking Association and SC Highway Patrol will be holding Safety Breaks at three rest stops around the state. These will be held at rest stops along the most popular highways in South Carolina: the Cherokee County Welcome Center along I-85, the Orangeburg Rest Area on I-26, and I-95’s Colleton County Rest Area. Officers will hand out safety materials and interact with drivers to help prevent distracted  driving and encourage seatbelt use.

Survey data is taken from AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, AAA/HIS Global Insight holiday travel forecast and AAA Carolinas data.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Cases from Distracted Driving Accidents

Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, distracted driving can lead to an accident, causing serious personal injury or even death. If you have been injured by an accident caused by distracted driving, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

Toyota Found Not Guilty in Wrongful Death Vehicle Acceleration Lawsuit

Toyota

Elderly Defendant, Not Toyota, Responsible for Vehicle Acceleration in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

ToyotaOn Thursday, October 10th, a Los Angeles jury declared Toyota not liable for the death of an elderly woman, whose family’s wrongful death lawsuit was the first bellwether case in a long line of personal injury cases related to vehicle acceleration problems.

Noriko Uno’s wrongful death lawsuit was the first bellwether case in a group of about 85 personal injury and wrongful death cases against the vehicle manufacturer. Allegedly, Toyota’s Camry model, including the 2006 model Mrs. Uno drove, had vehicle acceleration problems that went unaddressed for years before Toyota finally recalled 10 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010. Initially, Toyota claimed the acceleration problems were due to a sticky floor mat, which could shift out of position and force the gas pedal down. Later, however, the manufacturer discovered that the brake override system could cause sudden acceleration problems.

Uno’s family sought $20 million in damages, claiming that Toyota could have prevented Uno’s 2009 death if they had properly installed the brake override system. In August 2009, Mrs. Uno was in her Camry running errands, when an elderly driver ran a stop sign and hit the side of her car. The Camry spun out of control, and according to reports, Mrs. Uno’s foot became stuck between the brake and the gas pedal. Because the brake override system was not properly installed, her car accelerated rather than stopping, and the vehicle continued to drive for half a mile, with the driver attempting desperately to avoid oncoming traffic. Finally losing control of the car, Mrs. Uno’s Camry hit a tree, and the woman died on impact in the second crash.

However, the now 90-year-old defendant in the case – who hit Mrs. Uno after running a stop sign – was found liable for Uno’s wrongful death, not the vehicle manufacturer. Toyota claimed it was impossible for Mrs. Uno’s foot to remain stuck between the gas and brake pedals for 30 seconds, and there was no substantial evidence that this caused the accident.

The 90-year-old defendant was ordered to pay $10 million in damages in the wrongful death case.

“As an important bellwether in these consolidated state proceedings, we believe this verdict sets a significant benchmark by helping further confirm that Toyota vehicles are safe with or without brake override,” Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner said.

“Regarding the verdict, we are gratified that the jury concluded the design of the 2006 Camry did not contribute to this unfortunate accident, affirming the same conclusion we reached after more than three years of careful investigation — that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle at issue in this case,” Toyota said in a statement on Thursday.

More bellwether wrongful death and personal injury cases are pending against Toyota, which did admit in the 10 million vehicle recall that there was a problem with the braking system that could cause sudden acceleration.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Vehicle Recall Wrongful Death Cases

If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accidentpersonal injury, or wrongful death, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.

Charleston, SC Passes Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving

City of Charleston Officially Bans Texting and Driving, Plans to Educate Drivers

texting and drivingThe City of Charleston passed a ban on texting and driving on Tuesday, October 8th. However, the council noted that there will need to be time to educate drivers about the new ban.

Police Chief Greg Mullen said that the council and local police will, over the next 30 days, put up signs, moveable message boards, and other media to advertise the new legislation. After that, another month will be dedicated to enforcement through warnings. Around December, strict cracking down on texting and driving will begin, with $100 tickets issued to violators.

Using a mobile phone to dial and talk is not covered in the legislation, only use of text messages or written media.

Chief Mullen said he will also spend time working with his department on learning the parameters of the new texting and driving ordinance. Officers must have a clear and unobstructed view of a suspected driver’s actions, which include “excessively manipulating the phone” without bringing the device to the ear. Police must establish enough probable cause to stand up in court.

Charleston’s texting and driving ordinance specifically says that a driver cannot look down to scroll through their e-stored music, use the phone’s GPS application while moving around town (unless GPS coordinates have been inserted into the phone before departure), and the driver cannot take and/or send photographs.

“Viewing, taking, or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving email, text messages, or other electronic data” are outlawed, the ordinance says.

The texting and driving ordinance has expanded the definition of “vehicle” to bikes, buses, golf carts, skateboards, mopeds, horse carriages, and rickshaws. Exemptions from the law are hands-free devices, and stationary and parked vehicles, as well as a driver attempting to contact 911 or emergency services.

When the texting and driving ordinance kicks in fully in December, officers will no longer have to pull over drivers for a secondary offence. Additionally, courts can subpoena a device’s use records during court cases.

The City of Charleston joins Beaufort County and Hilton Head Island in anti-texting and driving legislation.

A larger state ban on texting and driving is still pending, after it did not pass in 2012. Rep. Don Bowen of Anderson County, who has been pushing such legislation for two years, says he is confident the ban could pass this year.

“We’re hoping by putting the teeth back into the bill, and the awareness has become so much greater than it has in the past, that this time we won’t have the opposition that we’ve had to it,” said Bowen.

“The problem is that it’s going to require an officer that pulls you over to take your phone, and go through your phone to figure out what you were doing,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford of Richland County. “Because dialing on a cell phone and texting on a cell phone, how is the officer going to know the difference?”

The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, including one who was texting and driving, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.

Charleston Considers Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving ban

texting and drivingOne of SC’s Largest Cities Reviewing Texting and Driving Ban

The City of Charleston could see a ban on texting and driving soon.

The Charleston City Council’s Wednesday agenda noted that an ordinance will be presented that could make it illegal for drivers to text and drive, or use their smart phones for certain purposes while behind the wheel.

“I think it’s very important and hope that we can get it passed. Texting while driving is very dangerous,” said Mayor Joe Riley.

The ordinance specifies that drivers not only cannot text and drive, they cannot read text messages or emails, write emails, use digital assistants, or type on a computer while driving. If an officer pulls someone over on reasonable suspicion of texting and driving, the ordinance states that the officer would be able to subpoena cell phone records for the court hearing.

However, the ordinance does not apply to drivers who use their phones while they are stopped or parked, or while they use factory-installed GPS or wireless devices that transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system. Drivers can also use voice-operated technology. The amendment would also not apply to law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers, or others who use such mobile devices to perform official duties.

The texting and driving ban would fine those caught using mobile devices $100. If the ban passes, it would go into effect in October 2013.

Despite South Carolina’s growing enthusiasm for texting and driving bans, Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon remains skeptical. “It’s not ever going to be easy to enforce. We’re not going to stop it,” he said. “It’s a constant (educational) process.”

South Carolina’s Texting and Driving Bans Becoming More Popular

A similar texting and driving ban passed the Mt. Pleasant Town Council. On Tuesday, August 13th, a preliminary vote was 6-3 in favor of the ban, but it is not official yet. The official vote will be at the town council meeting on September 10th.

In early July, the Hilton Head Island Town Council passed a texting and driving ban in a 4-to-1 vote.

The new texting and driving ban in Hilton Head says that any motorist caught reading or composing electronic messages, from Facebook to texts, within the town limits will face misdemeanor fines. The first offense is $100, the second is $200, and the third is $300. However, the measure does specifically say that drivers can still use MP3 players, GPS navigation, and hands-free options on their phones.

Assistant town manager Greg DeLoach said, “The challenge is that you can educate a lot of residents on the island, but we have 2 million visitors a year.” He said he would prefer a state-wide texting and driving ban, to make the rules clearer to all drivers.

In March, the South Carolina legislature re-introduced a texting and driving bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Bowen of Anderson County, who has been pushing such legislation for two years. In 2012, the bill did not pass, but Bowen says he is more confident the bill will pass this time around.

“We’re hoping by putting the teeth back into the bill, and the awareness has become so much greater than it has in the past, that this time we won’t have the opposition that we’ve had to it,” said Bowen.

“The problem is that it’s going to require an officer that pulls you over to take your phone, and go through your phone to figure out what you were doing,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford of Richland County. “Because dialing on a cell phone and texting on a cell phone, how is the officer going to know the difference?”

The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, including one who was texting and driving, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.