By Melissa Fried
I have recently made the pledge to not text, email, Facebook, or Tweet while driving my car. If you haven’t made a similar commitment, looks like now might be a good time to do it. Last week, the Mount Pleasant Town Council approved a ban by a vote of 6-3 on texting while driving. This vote makes Mount Pleasant the first town in the Charleston area to ban texting while driving.
While the ban is effective immediately, police officers are expected to issue only warnings for the first couple of months. After that, drivers in violation of the ordinance will be fined $50 if the violation did not occur during a wreck. However, with added court fees, this fine totals $158.70. Drivers who violate the ban and are involved in a wreck will be fined $200 which, with court fees, rises to $470.
For those that are enraged by this news, it might be surprising to find out that South Carolina is among only a few states that still allow texting while driving. Texting while driving is barred in 41 states as well as the District of Columbia.
The state legislature has attempted to pass a state-wide ban on texting while driving on numerous occasions. With the delay in the legislature, other local municipalities in the state have taken it upon themselves to pass their own bans, including Beaufort, Columbia, Sumter and Clemson.
So, is the ban necessary? There are obviously proponents and opponents to the new ordinance as with any new law. According to the S.C. Department of Public Safety, in this year alone, distracted or inattentive driving has played a role in 23 fatal collisions, 1,836 collisions resulting in injury, and 4,621 collisions resulting in property damage only in South Carolina.
According to the website, www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org, a person texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get involved in an accident than a driver who is not texting. In the five seconds your eyes are off the road in order to send a text while driving 55 mph, you will have traveled the length of a football field. Distracted driving, in recent years, has become a habit among our population that is as deadly, if not more so, than drunk driving.
If you are injured in a car wreck, be it due to a distracted driver or not, and want to know what your legal rights, please contact our firm at (877) 941-2615 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.