Distracted Driving Debate
Is that text or phone call worth it? With cell phone use while driving being argued as more dangerous than drunk driving, law makers are understandably rushing to fix the problem. In an effort to curb distracted driving, South Carolina currently has a bill that bans texting while driving, but it isn’t working.
In 2014, South Carolina rolled out a new law prohibiting texting while driving. Police can give distracted drivers a ticket of $25 for first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. However, the law doesn’t prohibit the use of cell phones for making calls or GPS functions and police cannot seize your phone.
Issues abound with this law, however. Currently, police issue roughly 1,300 texting-while-driving tickets each year. Many believe the $25 fee is not enough to deter drivers from using their phone. Also, since the law only covers texting, drivers can avoid receiving a ticket as long as they claim to be using their phone for another purpose such as phone calls and GPS navigation.
Early 2018 South Carolina law makers began discussions of imposing stricter regulations for distracted drivers. State Representative, Bill Taylor, proposed during a meeting in front of the House panel in January of this year, raising the fine from $25 to $100 for first offenses, and $300 fine and two points on the driver’s license for subsequent violations.
The law would also make it so officers can issue a ticket any time they see a phone in a driver’s hand, including when the driver is making or answering a call or at a red light or stop sign. The proposed law would not include Bluetooth or hands-free devices.
Distracted Driving is a Risk You Can’t Take
Cell phone use while driving is a dangerous habit. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year, with 1 out of 4 car accidents caused by texting and driving. Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
As lawmakers scramble to address this dangerous and growing trend of distracted driving, at Fender mender, we encourage you to put the phone down. The risk of injury to yourself and other drivers is too great, and that text is not that important. In the blink of an eye, your world can come crashing around you – literally.