South Carolina’s recently enacted texting ban is a worthless tool to help prevent automobile accidents. Here’s why:
The ban requires law enforcement to have probable cause that you are writing, sending, or reading a “text-based communication” while driving. “Text-based communication” refers to any type of communication using text. It is almost impossible to actually see what a driver is doing with their phone inside their car. Texting and emailing are only two of hundreds of things you can do with your phone. How can law enforcement say with any confidence you were texting and not doing something else?
2. If you get pulled over, law enforcement can’t look at your phone.
That’s right. Law Enforcement can’t even look at your phone to see if you were texting or emailing to confirm law enforcement’s “probable cause.” South Carolina’s law says you are free to tell the officer to go suck an egg (although I really wouldn’t recommend that).
3. Law Enforcement also can’t search you or your car.
Law Enforcement’s hands are tied when they pull you over for texting while driving. Not only can they not look at your phone, but they can’t search you or your car. I have no clue why law enforcement would even bother enforcing this ban because the law contains more of what law enforcement can’t do instead of what they can.
4. Doesn’t ban looking at your calendar.
The texting ban doesn’t prohibit you from looking at you calendar, or YouTube, or Pandora, or Instagram (no text right), or Facebook, or Pinterest. None of these apps’ major features involve sending text based communications to others (I realize some of these apps have a way to message other users).
5. Doesn’t ban video based communications.
That’s right, you can still Snapchat, Skype, or Facetime all day long while driving in South Carolina. South Carolina only banned texting. There is a law that says a driver can’t have an “image display device” within view of the driver. However, it arguably doesn’t apply to smartphones. (S.C. Code Section 56-5-4440).
6. The fine is too small.
Lets assume that law enforcement, from inside their car, saw you send a text to another person in violation of the texting ban, you go to trial, and get convicted. The penalty is only $25.00! Some people spend more money PER DAY at Starbucks. Why would our elected leaders trivialize behavior that is so dangerous? Research tells us that distracted driving causes thousands of collisions that harm, maim, and cause carnage and bloodshed on our streets and highways.
7. You Can Still Play Angry Birds and Candy Crush.
That’s right! Drivers in South Carolina can play Angry Birds or Candy Crush while barreling down our highways at sixty plus miles per hour, all in plain sight of law enforcement, and not violate South Carolina’s texting ban. (Although I hope that some in our law enforcement community would quickly pull you over and write you a reckless driving ticket). Feel free to explain to the officer who pulled you over, you were not texting, you were simply trying to reach the next level.
Demand a Better Ban!
As you can see, South Carolina’s texting ban is a worthless tool to help prevent automobile collisions caused by distracted driving. Call your representatives at the South Carolina Legislature and demand a better ban! One that will help prevent far to many injuries and deaths on our roadways.
If you have been hurt in a car accident:
- Please read why I don’t believe it was an accident, here;
- Request my Free Guide, South Carolina Car Accident Claims Guide in Plain English, by clicking here.
- Call at 888-510-9359 or contact me for a free consultation. There is no obligation.
Brian R. Murphy is a South Carolina personal injury and car accident lawyer. His law firm, the Brian R. Murphy Law Firm, helps people who have been hurt by the negligence and recklessness of others. He believes that safety rule violators should take personal responsibility and pay for the harm they cause. Brian’s firm is dedicated to promoting and pursuing justice for the injured. For more information, visit the firm online at www.brianmurphylawyer.com.