Texting while driving, or distracted driving, has been the cause of many car accidents in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Distracted driving is considered one of the top causes for modern day auto collisions and accidents. It is especially dangerous to text while driving because text messaging tends to take the driver’s cognitive, manual, and of course, visual attention away from the task at hand – safely operating a vehicle. In this article, we discuss the laws for texting and driving in our state.
What Texting and Driving Laws Are in Place to Prevent a Car Accident in Rock Hill, S.C.?
Under South Carolina driving laws, it is illegal to send, write, or even read a text message, instant message, SMS message, or email while driving. Note that this doesn’t only apply to mobile phones for the email or text message to be illegal. If you use a PDA, laptop, or tablet, you are most likely breaking the law.
What Happens If You Are Caught Texting and Driving?
If you are convicted of violating the law regarding texting and driving in Rock Hill, South Carolina, you will incur a $25 fine. While texting and driving is not a criminal offense, and the DMV doesn’t usually include the violation of a driver’s record or report it to your insurance provider, you are still violating the law and you may have given the police a reason to stop you. This alone could lead to a range of other consequences, especially if you are driving under the influence, driving suspended, have an outstanding warrant, are in possession of illegal contraband, or if the texting while driving resulted in a car accident in Rock Hill, S.C.
A car accident is a serious consequence of distracted driving. If it is found that you were texting or reading a text while operating a vehicle, you may face charges of vehicular homicide or other serious crimes. Vehicular homicide, or manslaughter, involves someone’s death as a result of negligent driving. More specifically, the death must be a result from operating a car while committing an unlawful act, just like texting and driving.
Are You Allowed to Text Someone That You Know is Driving in South Carolina?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question and the answers may very by state. For example, in New Jersey, the appeals court became the first in the United State to rule that third-party texters may also be responsible for a car accident that involves texting. In this instance, a 17-year-old girl sent a text to an 18-year-old boy just before he veered his pickup truck over the road and hit a couple on a motorcycle. The couple were seriously injured and the appeals court rules that third-party texters, in this case the girl, can be held liable if they are aware that the person they are texting is operating a vehicle.
The appeals court ruled that when the person sending the text knows or has reason to believe that the recipient of the text is behind the wheel and will read the message, the texter has a duty to all other users of public roads to not send the driver at text until he or she is not operating a vehicle.
However, South Carolina does not have any similar rulings on point, and this will be a gray area in the law for the foreseeable future.
Not Convinced That You Should Put Your Phone Away? Read These Statistics
With smartphones, everyone has a computer and communication device in their pockets. Everyone is always connected to their family and friends, which can make it tempting to try and multi-task by using their cell phones while driving. Despite the evidence to the contrary, you may think that this activity is harmless. If you are still not convinced that you should put your phone down when you are behind the wheel, check out a few statistics:
- 330,000 car accidents due to texting while driving lead to severe injuries each year.
- In 2015, there were 64 distracted-driving deaths in South Carolina.
- Every year, more than 2 million people in the United States are involved in accidents on the roads, with 64% of these accidents involving distracted driving and phones.
- In 2016, distracted-driving collisions with injuries soared to an all-time high of 5,698 in our state.
- The greatest portion of distracted drivers are those under the age of 20, followed by those in the age bracket of 20 – 29.
- Using mobile devices makes drivers four times more likely to be involved in a car accident that results in injury.
Contact an South Carolina Attorney Today to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Accident Case
Those who have suffered through a car accident due to the negligence of another party should not have to foot the bill for the resulting medical expenses or car repairs. If you were involved in a car accident that occurred due to distracted driving or texting while driving, call the experienced attorneys at Elrod Pope for your free consultation today. With a skilled legal representative on your side, you can increase your chances of receiving the compensation that you deserve.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.