Drivers in South Carolina are now on full notice to keep their eyes on the road and away from their phones. A new law passed in 2014 is now in force, making it a primary offense to text and drive on South Carolina roadways. The fact that it is a primary offense means that if an officer sees you texting while driving, the officer can pull you over even if you are committing no other crime. This new law was a long-awaited change for South Carolina, but it still has some catching up to do to meet the standards of other states.
Dangerous, Distracted Driving
Distracted driving played a role in an estimated 3,200 traffic deaths in 2012, in addition to nearly a half a million injuries. In response, most states have adopted either primary or secondary bans on cell phone use, some requiring oral conversations to be hands free as well.
South Carolina lawmakers initiated a 180-day trial period before putting the new cell phone law into full effect, issuing only warnings to those found in violation of the law. Now, if not in compliance with the statue, drivers will face fines beginning at $25. This is a relatively low fine in comparison to steeper penalties from other states that fine over $200, but an anticipated deterrent nonetheless. The statute, specifically, makes it a primary offense to text and drive, but remains silent on hand held communication while driving. Though, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, no state presently bans the use of cell phones for all drivers, nearly 40 have restrictions for novice drivers. South Carolina is not among these states. Comparatively, South Carolina is keeping up with the text messaging bans, since as of January 1, 2015, all but six states have a text messaging ban in place, with the vast majority being primary offenses.
South Carolina Auto Accident Lawyers
Even when we give our full attention to our surroundings, accidents still happen. Taking your eyes off the road for one second can be the difference between life and death. Though South Carolina has comparatively minor punishments for texting and driving, the possibility of an accident should serve as its own deterrent to keep your eyes on the road. Even holding the cell phone up to your ear to talk has been shown to cause inattention to the road that may lead to accidents. If you or anyone you know has been injured in an accident attributed to cell phone use or any auto accident in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, injuries, lost wages, or emotional pain and suffering. An experienced South Carolina auto accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to by law. Distracted driving is an epidemic in the United States; contact us at Solomon Law Group if you have been injured in an auto accident and want to learn more about your legal rights.