Many South Carolina residents may be aware of the growing concern regarding distracted driving. While this term may apply to many actions, such as eating and grooming, that take a driver's focus away from the road, texting seems to be the most common culprit. Getting into a car accident is one of the biggest risks associated with distracted driving, but there may also be other consequences, such as fines and increased insurance rates.
According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, the accident statistics for South Carolina may indicate a serious problem. The state ranks seventh in the country for both negligent driving and speeding. In 2016, there were 1,015 fatalities from South Carolina traffic accidents. National data shows that cell phones figure in nearly two-thirds of all car accidents. Many people think that sending a single text is not a problem, but it takes an average of five seconds. If an individual is traveling on a highway, his or her eyes may be off the road for over 100 yards.
According to local news station WCSC, the state may enact stricter distracted driving laws in the near future. Some officials feel that the existing laws are not strong enough. Current South Carolina laws prohibit texting while driving, but not distracted driving. Additionally, a driver may only receive tickets for texting and driving if a police officer pulls him or her over for another violation. Proposed new laws may ban drivers from all cell phone use while driving, except for making emergency calls. Other changes may include higher fines for drivers who break the law. Stricter distracted driving laws may significantly reduce car accidents related to cell phone use, making the roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.