According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 20 percent of motor vehicle crash-related injuries in 2009 were associated with drivers who were distracted.
The unfortunate accidents cost 5,000 Americans their lives in 2009 and caused an additional 448,000 injuries.
One of the biggest issues associated with crashes is texting while driving.
As a result, many states have banned the practice. In South Carolina, legislators pushed this last legislative session for harsher penalties for drivers who text while driving.
In January 2011, state Senator Jake Knotts introduced Senate Bill 0225 which called for specific penalties (a $45 fine) and a “one point assessment on their license” for drivers caught operating their motor vehicles while using a wireless electronic communication device.
The former law enforcement officer is not alone in his efforts to have South Carolinajoin the 34 states that have already banned texting while driving. Proposed legislation was also sponsored by:
Senator Larry Martin, and House of Representative members Bakari Sellers and Joseph McEachern sponsored similar bills: House Bill 3115 and House Bill 3160.
While many support these bills, no bill passed this legislative session.
Local jurisdictions are now taking action against the dangerous practice. In Lexington and the state capitol of Columbia, local governments passed ordinances banning texting while driving.
Currently,South Carolina has no existing ban preventing cell phone use or texting while driving.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 34 states and the District of Columbiahave laws banning texting for those operating motor vehicles.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says over 1,000 people are injured and more than 15 are killed every day in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers.
For South Carolina, accident deaths cost the state approximately $1 billion in medical costs and lost work.
By: South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Pete Strom