There’s no doubt that distracted driving is a bigger problem today than it was before the advent of cellphones and other personal electronic devices. All too often, drivers think that just one text or phone call behind the wheel of a motor vehicle will be harmless, and they end up causing a fatal car accident.
In effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, the Department of Transportation has declared April to be National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This year, the message to drivers is simple: One Text or Call Could Wreck it All.
Currently, there is no law on the books against texting while driving in South Carolina. However, there is currently a bill in the state legislature that would ban texting while driving. The bill easily passed the House and will now go before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.
According to reports from Brooklyn personal injury lawyers, the original texting while driving bill was seemingly watered down before moving through the legislature. Some of the original bill’s harshest provisions were removed, including assessing points against a person’s driver’s license and assumed negligence for causing an accident while texting while driving.
Instead, fines for texting and driving were increased to $150 from $100, as was originally proposed. The modified bill also provides that voice-operated texting is not subject to the law, and police officers do not have the authority to search personal electronic devices for evidence of texting while driving.
Additionally, as the bill currently stands, no tickets for texting while driving can be administered at police checkpoints, unless the driver has made other violations as well. So far, Camden, Columbia, Walhalla, Clemson, Sumter and West Union have all imposed local distracted driving bans.