The laws on distracted driving vary depending on the state you reside in. Because these laws differ and are updated often, it can be challenging to know what is illegal. Are you permitted to talk on the phone while driving if you use a hands-free device? Is texting against the law or simply not recommended? If you live in South Carolina, here are some specific things you should know about texting and driving laws in the state.
Is It Illegal to Text and Drive?
Texting while driving has been against South Carolina law since June 2014. The law prohibits writing, reading, or sending texts from a wireless device while driving. This law also includes emails and other forms of electronic or internet-based messages. The law also applies to all wireless devices, including phones, tablets, or laptops.
The texting while driving law was introduced in 2019 and is enforced to ban the use of wireless devices while driving. Cellphones must be used in a hands-free setting while driving, even when the driver is taking phone calls. As of January 2021, the Senate Transportation Committee has yet to vote on the bill. For now, it is technically legal to talk on a cellphone without using a hands-free device, but this will likely be unlawful soon.
If you’re involved or injured in a car accident in South Carolina, get information from a Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident lawyer today. Collisions often occur because a driver is distracted by texting. If you’re injured in this type of accident or suffer damage to your vehicle, your attorney can help you form a legitimate case.
Exceptions to the Texting and Driving Law
There are some exceptions for sending and receiving texts while you’re operating a vehicle. You can receive or send a text legally if your vehicle is legally stopped or parked or you’re using a hands-free device. You can also text while driving if you’re driving to get emergency assistance or you are sending or receiving information from a digital dispatch system. Texting is permitted when you’re using a GPS or are an emergency personnel professional performing work-related duties.
Texting While Driving Is a Primary Ban
A primary ban means that if a police officer notices someone texting while driving, that is the only reason the officer needs to pull that person over. However, the police officer must view the driver sending or receiving a text to pull them over. This ban can be difficult to enforce since drivers can claim that they were using their GPS or in an emergency situation, or assert that the officer did not have a clear enough view to prove that the driver was texting.
Police officers are not permitted to search your phone or take the device. It applies even if you were pulled over for texting while driving.
Penalties for Texting While Driving
South Carolina laws are noticeably lenient when it comes to texting while driving. You’ll usually face a fine of no more than $25 for a first offense. However, texting and driving is a serious offense, and the number of car accidents in South Carolina is proof of this. The state was #1 in the US for the most deadly car crashes per mile traveled in 2018. In addition, it doesn’t consider the injuries that people have suffered from car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Car crashes can be devastating, and some victims take months or even years to recover from their injuries. Unfortunately, some victims are never able to experience a complete recovery. Texting while driving can have serious consequences for everyone inovlved, including accident victims, their familiars, and liable drivers. Even though the ticket for texting while driving is $25, the impact of distracted driving could affect some people permanently.
Working with a lawyer also makes it easier to deal with insurance companies and get fair compensation for damages and injuries, whether you take your case to trial or settle out of court.
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