Texting and Driving Ban Now in Effect in South Carolina

texting and driving ban

Texting and Driving Ban Should Result In Fewer Accidents in South Carolina

texting and driving banOn Monday, June 9th, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the state’s texting and driving ban into law. The texting and driving ban went immediately into effect after Governor Haley signed it.

The ban covers writing or reading texts, emails, or social media sites while operating a vehicle. South Carolina is the 45th state to pass this legislation.  Frankly, it’s about time as distracted driving and  texting and driving cause more accidents than drinking and driving. Prior to the statewide ban, local municipalities took matters into their own hands. Greenville, Beaufort, and Charleston Counties all passed texting and driving legislation to protect their citizens. The number of local governments banning texting and driving spurred the successful statewide ban. “At least we have an overall texting bill that makes the entire state exactly the same. The way it was, nobody knew what the texting law was when they drove from one county to the next,” said Rep. Don Bowen, R-Anderson, who’s fought for a statewide ban since 2010. “In a state not well-known for regulating behind-the-wheel behavior, legislators are saying, ‘Your decisions behind the wheel have consequences for everyone because you endanger everyone else as well as yourself,'” said Tom Crosby, spokesman for AAA Carolinas. “It’s a great start.” A “training period” of 180 days will go into effect once the texting and driving ban is signed into law, during which time police will issue warnings rather than tickets.

The ban supersedes local ordinances, passed in 19 townships and cities across South Carolina, that regulate texting and driving differently from the statewide ban, including higher fines or points deducted from drivers’ licenses. Under the compromise texting and driving legislation, drivers who violate the law will not receive any penalty points on their licenses, but will face fines starting at $25, with the maximum penalty at $50. The use of GPS for navigation and texting emergency services in the event of an accident are permitted, according to the new law. Police officers would also be prohibited from confiscating or viewing drivers’ cellphones when they pulled someone over for texting and driving. “This texting and driving ban will save more lives than any other action by state government in years,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden. Texting and driving studies in recent years have shown that texting and driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted driving while 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, Including Texting and Driving

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.

SC Lawmakers Pass Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving

Texting and Driving Ban Passes House and Senate, Goes to Governor

texting and drivingAfter a long struggle and an 11th-hour compromise, South Carolina lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a ban on texting and driving, making SC the 44th state to pass such legislation.

On Wednesday, June 4th, the House passed the texting and driving ban 94-2, while the Senate passed the new legislation 42-2. Under the compromise texting and driving legislation, drivers who violate the law would not receive any penalty points on their licenses, but would face fines starting at $25.  Texting and driving is dangerous and can result in an accident.

The use of GPS for navigation and texting emergency services in the event of an accident are permitted, according to the new law. Police officers would also be prohibited from confiscating or viewing drivers’ cellphones when they pulled someone over for texting and driving.

A “training period” of 180 days will go into effect once the texting and driving ban is signed into law, during which time police will issue warnings rather than tickets. The ban supersedes local ordinances, passed in 19 townships and cities across South Carolina, that regulate texting and driving differently from the statewide ban, including higher fines or points deducted from drivers’ licenses.

“The ban will help protect the people of South Carolina, clear up confusing and irregular local regulations and make our roads safer around the state,” Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, said.

“Without a doubt, this is a great day for the lives of all drivers and passengers in South Carolina,” said Sen. Luke Rankin, R-Conway. “Finally we catch up with the rest of the country in acknowledging a white-and-black reality – texting while driving kills.”

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

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, Including Texting and Driving

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.

Distracted Driving Is a Huge Problem in the US

distracted driving

As SC Schedules Debate about Texting and Driving, Stats on Distracted Driving Released

distracted drivingThe state of South Carolina is one of very few states remaining in the US that does not have a specific texting and driving ban, although other forms of distracted driving have penalties. The current proposed texting and driving ban must pass by Thursday, June 5th, if the state has any hope of regulating this new and deadly form of distracted driving.

A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that distracted driving is just as deadly as drunk driving. Statistics from 2010, the latest year with available data, showed that 17% of the economic cost of traffic accidents came from distracted driving, particularly texting and driving; in contrast, drunk driving had an 18% economic burden, while speeding was the costliest at 21% of the economic cost of all traffic accidents.  Distracted driving accidents can be prevented.

“Including lost quality of life, these crashes were responsible for $129 billion, or 15 percent of the overall societal harm caused by motor-vehicle crashes,” the report said.

In total, “the price tag for crashes comes at a heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. This includes $277 billion in economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the United States based on calendar year 2010 data — and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries,” the NHTSA said.

Despite these disturbing numbers, as well as local governments’ specific distracted driving legislation, South Carolina legislators cannot agree on what a texting and driving ban should look like for the entire state.

“We need continuity and uniformity across the cities and the counties,” said state Sen. Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee, a sponsor of the bill.

“We have a great chance of passing a statewide ban,” said Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, a sponsor of the statewide ban, in spite of the fact that the Legislature is racing against its adjournment on June 5th.

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.

Texting and Driving Ban Heads for House

texting and driving

SC Texting and Driving Ban Heads to House for Vote

texting and drivingA bill that would ban texting and driving for all drivers in South Carolina received some edits from a Senate committee on Tuesday, May 13th, and will now head back to the House of Representatives for a vote.

The original Senate bill banned texting and driving only for drivers with beginner’s permits, or those with restricted licenses. It also proposed to ban all hand-held cell phone use for drivers in school zones, which included texting and talking.

However, a Senate committee took out the school zone provision, and expanded the ban on texting and driving to all drivers, not just specific license types. Now, the bill will head back to the House for a vote.

Rep. Joe Daning, R-Goose Creek,said of the texting and driving legislation. “I was coming up the Interstate today and a guy just flew past me and he’s texting. And I look at him going in the distance and he’s just weaving all over the place. If you’re on a two-lane road, you’re gonna hit somebody.”

The bill is expected to pass a vote in the House. Once the House passes the bill, it will head to a conference committee of three House members and three senators, who will draft the final version of the texting and driving ban.

South Carolina is one of the few states that has not passed texting and driving legislation. However, the idea has become more popular across the state in the last year as local governments passed their own specific texting and driving bans.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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

  • texting or writing emails

  • checking social media

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, Including Texting and Driving

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.

Greer, SC Bans Texting and Driving

texting and driving

City of Greer Bans Texting and Driving

texting and drivingThe city of Greer, SC is the latest municipality in the state to ban texting and driving.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd, passed a measure to prevent drivers from composing, reading, or sending text messages while in a moving vehicle. The vote passed 5-2.

The texting and driving ban goes into effect on July 1st, and will be considered a misdemeanor, with a penalty of $100 or 30 days in jail.

City Spokesman Steve Owens said that the ban still allows drivers to text while they are pulled over. The ban specified that the vehicle cannot be in motion.

Bans on texting and driving are growing in popularity all over the state. A measure to ban mobile phone use is also moving through the state legislature – on Wednesday, April 9th, the South Carolina Senate passed a state-wide texting and driving ban 38-2. The bill would levy fines against drivers starting at $75 – more lenient than several local bans passed across the state – and would penalize drivers with one point from their licenses. The legislation also bans texting and driving as well as other cell phone use from drivers with a learner’s permit or a restricted license.

The state House of Representatives passed a different piece of texting and driving legislation 97-16. The texting and driving ban would fine drivers only $25 for the first offense and would not remove any points from the driver’s license.

The Greer texting and driving ban also does not prohibit talking on a cell phone while in a moving vehicle – it only bans writing on a cell phone or smart phone, as that takes the driver’s eyes off the road.

South Carolina is one of the few states in the US that does not yet have a state-wide texting and driving ban.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

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, Including Texting and Driving

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.

SC Senate Votes For Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving

SC Senate Passes Texting and Driving Ban, House Votes on Separate Bill

texting and drivingSouth Carolina is one of the few states left in the US that does not have a statewide texting and driving ban. However, both the Senate and the House recently passed legislation to ban texting and driving across the Palmetto State.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

On Wednesday, April 9th, the SC Senate passed a ban on texting and driving 38-2. The bill would levy fines against drivers starting at $75 – more lenient than several local bans passed across the state – and would penalize drivers with one point from their licenses. The legislation also bans texting and driving as well as other cell phone use from drivers with a learner’s permit or a restricted license.

Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), who sponsored the bill, defended the ban on texting and driving specifically.

“The bill is not perfect,” he said. “There are many forms of distracted driving. This is not addressing all of them. It is addressing one of the more prevalent forms of distracted driving. What we were really trying to do is trying to narrow the focus and make this as simple as possible.”

The state House of Representatives passed a different piece of texting and driving legislation 97-16. The texting and driving ban would fine drivers only $25 for the first offense and would not remove any points from the driver’s license.

Both texting and driving bills prohibit police from searching or confiscating cell phones.

“We wanted to make it matter,” said state Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield. “(Texting) is “more akin to driving under the influence of alcohol than not wearing seat belts.”

“We need to pass a state law where everyone knows what the rules are,” said Senate Judiciary chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

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, Including Texting and Driving

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.

Beaufort Texting and Driving Ban Is Mostly Warnings

texting and driving

Beaufort’s Texting and Driving Ban Focuses on Warning Drivers, Not Ticketing Them

texting and drivingLocal governments across the state of South Carolina have issued bans on texting and driving in the last year. One local government, Beaufort County, has had a texting and driving ban in place for about a year and a half, but the “ban” has focused on warning drivers, rather than ticketing them.

Law enforcement officers in the county have focused on educating drivers about the texting and driving ban, since there is no state law yet. Since the texting and driving ban was adopted in January 2013, only 11 citations against the distracted driving practice have been issued by the Beaufort Police Department. However, 36 warnings about texting and driving have been issued to drivers in order to educate those that drive through the county.

Cpl. Hope Able of the Beaufort Police Department said that it is often the officer’s discretion about whether to issue a ticket or a warning.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department has similar statistics: officers issued 30 warnings since September last year, when the texting and driving ban first passed local lawmakers. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the Sheriff’s Office has officially moved past the driver education phase of the ban, but officers are still able to decide whether they issue a warning or a ticket.

“People are being more covert,” Tanner said. “It is not as blatant as it was before. People are taking a good bit more care when they drive. They are using their cellphone less while driving, and the new laws have been a huge deterrent.”

When texting and driving bans do go fully into effect, the tickets will be very similar in many counties. The texting and driving bans in Bluffton, Port Royal, unincorporated Beaufort County, and on Hilton Head come with $100 fines for the first offense; $200 for the second; and $300 for all subsequent offenses. The town of Beaufort’s penalties are lower, at $50 for the first offense and $150 for each subsequent offense.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, February 25th, a Senate judiciary committee passed the latest attempt at a statewide texting and driving ban. The committee recommended, based on the measure, that South Carolinians should be subject to penalties and fines if caught texting and driving. The bill, S. 416, now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

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.

SC Texting and Driving Ban Passes Committee

Statewide South Carolina Texting and Driving Ban Moves to Senate Floor

texting and driving banSouth Carolina is the only Southern state without a texting and driving ban, but that could soon change.

On Tuesday, February 25th, a Senate judiciary committee passed the latest attempt at a statewide texting and driving ban. The committee recommended, based on the measure, that South Carolinians should be subject to penalties and fines if caught texting and driving. The bill, S. 416, now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

Municipalities across South Carolina have passed their own texting and driving bans, including Charleston, Columbia, and the latest, Greenville. Like many of the local level bans, the statewide texting and driving ban proposes a steady increase in fines or penalties for first and over offenses: a $100 ticket for the first texting and driving offense, or the driver can take a distracted driving course to avoid the penalty; second offense is a $200 ticket; and third and subsequent offenses are $300. Three or more convictions for texting and driving could lead to two points on the offender’s license.

“We wanted to make it matter,” said state Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield. “(Texting) is “more akin to driving under the influence of alcohol than not wearing seat belts.”

The bill allows drivers to pull over and stop the car to use their phone.

The committee also approved a ban, S. 459, on driver’s with learner’s permits using a mobile phone at all while behind the wheel.

Over the past four years, attempts to pass a texting and driving ban statewide have failed. S. 416’s success probably lies in the fact that in the last year, multiple municipalities across South Carolina have taken distracted driving matters into their own hands.

“We need to pass a state law where everyone knows what the rules are,” said Senate Judiciary chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens.

One critic, Sen. Paul Thurmond (R-Charleston), said that the bill doesn’t make sense in light of lax attitudes toward other forms of distracted driving.

“We’re OK if people are using their phones to call somebody, we’re OK if they’re eating a sandwich,” he said. “How is it that dialing a phone number is not just as dangerous as texting back the response ‘yes’? You’re hitting 10 potential digits instead of three.”

Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), who sponsored the bill, defended the ban on texting and driving specifically.

“The bill is not perfect,” he said. “There are many forms of distracted driving. This is not addressing all of them. It is addressing one of the more prevalent forms of distracted driving. What we were really trying to do is trying to narrow the focus and make this as simple as possible.”

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

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.

SC May See State-Wide Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving ban

Senate Subcommittee Approves Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving banOn Thursday, February 20th, a subcommittee in the South Carolina Senate passed an agreement that stated South Carolina drivers should be subject to a statewide ban on texting and driving.

Bans on texting and driving have passed local governments across the state. Now, state legislators are looking to enforce a ban on texting and driving across the South Carolina.

The bill, S. 416A, created multiple levels of offenses. First offense texting and driving would be a fine of $100, up to 30 days in jail and two points on an offender’s driver’s license; a second texting and driving offense would mean a fine of $500, possible jail time and four points on a driver’s license – meaning the driver’s vehicle insurance rate would shoot up.

Another bill, S. 459, would prohibit drivers with beginner’s permits or restricted licenses from talking on the phone, as well as texting and driving.

Many details of the bill still need to be hashed out, including how police will enforce the ban.

However, this is the first time a texting and driving ban has passed any level of the state Senate or House. “There’s more focus to get it done,” said Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, in an interview. “A lot of municipalities have started to implement their own bans and prohibitions … Those bans are different, so depending on where you’re driving, you can have different laws on the same trip. That’s not good for anybody. So I think there is more momentum now.”

Both bills will now go before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and 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
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

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, Including Texting and Driving

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 Officially Bans Texting and Driving

New Ordinance on Texting and Driving Passes in Greenville

texting and drivingAfter a thorough debate in January, the Greenville city council passed an ordinance that will ban texting and driving while in the city.

The ordinance makes exceptions for emergency workers such as EMTs, and allows the use of hands-free devices like blue tooth headsets and GPS devices while driving.

The texting and driving ban passed the council vote with ease, and will go into effect on April 1st.

Greenville Mayor Knox White said that he decided to support the ban after hearing testimony from doctors who said they had seen an increase in distracted driving accidents, injuries, and fatalities related to checking email, social media, or texting and driving on mobile devices.

One of the bill’s opponents, Tom Barilovits, said that the texting and driving bill is unconstitutional. The ban could cause more accidents as drivers pull over to text, and the ban could give police officers more reason to stop more motorists, infringing on the individual’s right to privacy.

As the texting and driving ban goes into effect, officers will issue warning tickets, then first-time offense tickets of $100 plus court costs, then $100 additional for every offense after that.

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.