Do you text while driving? If so, then you are like millions of other Americans throughout the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, more than 3,000 people died and more than 420,000 people suffered injuries in vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers. Throughout the country, states have enacted legislation to impose and to strengthen penalties for distracted drivers. South Carolina is one of the most recent states to pass such legislation.
South Carolina Passes Legislation Imposing Texting While Driving Ban
In June 2014, the South Carolina legislature passed a law making it illegal for South Carolina drivers to text while driving. Under the previous law, towns and counties had discretion to pass their own laws. The new law creates a uniform law across the state to ban drivers from using a wireless device to compose, send or read text-based message while driving a car in South Carolina. A text-based communication means “a text message, an SMS message, an instant message, or an electronic mail message.”
There are, however a few exceptions to the new law. For example, drivers can still text when lawfully parked or stopped, using a hands-free wireless electronic communication device, or to summon emergency assistance. Any person violating the law will be fined not more than $25. A second offense carries a $50 fine.
South Carolina drivers should now start paying particular attention to the new law. While the law went into effect immediately, drivers had a 180-day grace period that would result in only a warning. This 180-day grace period, however, recently expired on December 7.
What Is a Distracted Driver?
Distracted drivers on the road are a serious threat to public safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills 9 people each day and injures more than 1,150. In short, distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention away from driving. The CDC identifies three main categories of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive.
Visual distraction is anything that causes one to take one’s eyes of the road. Manual distraction refers to the act of taking one’s hands of the wheel to perform another task. And cognitive distraction causes one to take one’s mind off the road. Texting while driving is identified as being particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Talking on a cell phone or to other people in the car;
- Eating or drinking;
- Thinking about other tasks that one has to do for the day;
- Putting on makeup; and
- Using in-vehicle systems, such as the audio or navigation system.
Contact a Greenville, South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, an experienced Greenville car accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. David R. Price, Jr. has extensive experience helping car accident victims recover compensation for their injuries, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss wages. Contact the office today for a free consultation and to find out how we can help you.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.