According to the state Department of Public Safety, distracted driving caused nearly 9,000 accidents in South Carolina in one recent year. Many of these accidents involved drivers who were texting while driving, which is why authorities have started cracking down on the dangerous driving habit.
The South Carolina car accident lawyers at the Jebaily Law Firm would like to share some valuable information on the state’s texting and driving laws.
We take all forms of distracted driving seriously. In fact, attorney George D. Jebaily serves as a speaker for End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org), a nationwide organization committed to raising awareness and promoting action to fight the dangers of driver distraction.
Is Texting While Driving Illegal in South Carolina?
Texting while driving is illegal in South Carolina. According to Section 56-5-3890 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it is unlawful for a driver to use a “wireless communication device” to read, write, or send a text-based message while driving.
The term wireless communication device applies to cell phones as well as laptops and PDAs. The term “text-based message” applies to both text messages on your phone and other forms of written communication like email.
What Happens If I’m Caught Texting While Driving in South Carolina?
South Carolina law makes texting while driving a primary offense, meaning a police officer can charge you without needing an additional reason to pull you over.
A first offense will result in a $25 fine, and it will not be reported to the driver’s insurance company. Subsequent violations may result in additional fines.
Regardless of the outcome of any traffic violations, a motorist who causes a car accident due to texting while driving may still face civil liability for the crash. Civil liability is a separate matter that carries a lower burden of proof.
Exceptions to the Texting and Driving Law
South Carolina’s texting while driving law allows a few exceptions where a motorist may use a hand-held device, including:
- Texting while your vehicle is parked
- Texting to request assistance from police or other emergency services
- Texting while receiving or transmitting data using a digital dispatch service
- Public safety officials performing their official duties
- Using a GPS navigation device
Consequences of Texting While Driving
According to AAA, drivers are concerned about the dangers of texting and driving, but many are not changing their habits to match their concern. Nearly a quarter (23%) of drivers admitted to sending a text or email at least once in the past month.
Any form of distracted driving presents a severe safety hazard to you and anyone around you. Drivers who are distracted by texting can have difficulty recognizing and responding to traffic hazards, making accidents far more likely.
Texting while driving also puts pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorists in danger because a driver might not see them in the road while looking at their phone. A driver who is texting might also run through a stop sign or traffic light, causing an accident if they collide with traffic moving in another direction.
Get Help from a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
If you were hurt by a driver who was texting, the South Carolina distracted driving accident lawyers at the Jebaily Law Firm can help you demand compensation. Contact us today for your free consultation.