New Ordinance on Texting and Driving Passes in Greenville
After 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.