Distracted driving is an epidemic in South Carolina and across the nation. Too many accidents are caused by distracted drivers who are using mobile devices , reading, eating, or simply not paying attention to the road while driving. Several states across the country have made efforts to reduce distracted driving by passing laws which regulate texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. The federal government, however, is still in the early stages of nationwide distracted driving legislation.
“The bottom line for me is to get where we’re at with seatbelts and with drunk driving,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “When those programs were started, people were very skeptical that you could get people to buckle up.” LaHood, known as the “Tiger” in Washington, is quite possibly the most avid supporter of banning mobile use while driving, admitting he is on a “rampage” to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving: “When you’ve met the loved ones of victims killed by a texting driver, or heard them tell their tragic stories, you’ll know what I’m talking about.”
In 2009, the House and the Senate introduced bills that would encourage states to pass distracted-driving legislation. Members of the House proposed the Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers Act (ALERT Drivers Act). The bill calls for the withholding of federal transportation funds to states that do not pass anti-texting legislation. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Jay Rockefeller presented the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009, calling for grant money to be given to states that ban both texting and hand-held cellphone use while driving. The states would be required to spend this funding on educating the public about distracted driving and other traffic safety issues. While this act was approved by a vote of 17-8, the ALERT Drivers Act has not yet made it to fruition, likely because many do not support the withholding of funds needed for improving the transportation system.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2009 banning federal workers from texting while driving in government vehicles or on government business. This marks the first major initiative by the U.S. government to reduce distracted driving. In 2010, two laws were passed prohibiting commercial truck drivers and bus drivers from texting on the job, and preventing train operators from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while at work.
The key is to research and collect enough convincing information regarding the dangers of distracted driving to convince enough people to ban mobile use. So far, 39 states have already enforced laws regarding the use of cellphones while driving, and several others are following suit. While South Carolina has not yet passed any state-wide laws regarding texting while driving (local distracted driving bans are in effect in select areas), there are several bills up for consideration that may be passed as early as 2014, including significant fines and jail time for distracted driving offenders.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the experienced attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to get the help you need.