Distracted driving used to mean shaving, or applying makeup. Today, however, high-tech devices such as smartphones have made distracted driving even more complicated and dangerous. Texting while driving is one of the most common causes of accidents across the country. Many states, including South Carolina, have strict distracted driving laws in place, including restrictions on texting while driving. Even with laws in place to prevent it, texting is now the number one cause of distracted driving.
Texting Is a Violation
Currently, there are several laws in place that deal with distracted driving. Texting is prohibited while driving in South Carolina and drivers may receive tickets. The ticket fines range from $25 for a first offense, to $50 for subsequent offenses. New legislation is up for approval, which would significantly increase penalties for texting while driving, with fines up to $500. These increased fines are designed as a deterrent against this activity. The ban on cell phone use does not include utilizing the phone to call 911 or GPS use.
Previously, South Carolina had many different local laws that governed texting while driving, or more specifically, distracted driving. South Carolina joined most other states in passing a statewide law that bans texting while driving. The state ban included writing, sending, or reading text messages while driving. This ban takes precedence over any other local ordinances that may have been in place.
Until now, law enforcement may have had some difficulty proving that a driver had been texting while driving. The officer could ask the driver, but was unable to do little else. This left some room for drivers, who were sometimes able to escape a violation. Law enforcement officers were not allowed to check a driver’s cell phone device because this could be an infringement on the person’s rights. All that could be changing, however, with the invention of a new device called a textalyzer.
The textalyzer is technology similar to a breathalyzer. While the breathalyzer measures blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the textalyzer is designed to determine whether a driver was texting while driving. The unit is able to detect that a text was used, however, it does not read the content of the text message. Therefore, it seemingly does not violate a right to privacy. However, it is important to note that since the textalyzer is not yet being used, there are no laws regarding this technology at this time.
How the Textalyzer Works
The text detector is technology that was created by ComSonics, a company located in Virginia. The device is a handheld unit that utilizes radar and texting detection. The gadget is able to detect data as it is transmitted from a cell phone. It detects the specific wavelengths produced through texting, which are unique. According to the developers, the unit is not able to actually decode the texts or show any actual text messages. The technology may be able to be utilized by law enforcement.
Is the Textalyzer Legal?
The textalyzer unit has not yet received approval from governmental agencies. Before it can be used, it must be reviewed and go through a legislative approval process. This could take some time, so don’t expect the gadget to be used in the very near future. If it is approved, the company will then be able to move forward with production. There are still some questions about how it will distinguish voice assistant programmed texts, and how that information would be utilized. Additionally, if there are multiple people in the care, it may not be able to distinguish which cell phone was texting. These are all concerns which may be addressed as the technology continues to advance.
Will New Technology End Texting While Driving?
Clearly, law enforcement and governmental agencies are doing everything they can to try to put an end to texting while driving. Yet, it continues to be a serious problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 3,000 people killed nationwide in traffic accidents due to distracted drivers in 2013. An additional 420,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents. Certainly, ensuring safety on the roads is a problem that needs to be resolved. The new technology may be just one step in that direction.
Most people think that they can take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds while they read or send a text message. Unfortunately, the statistics prove that taking your eyes away from the road for any amount of time is dangerous. Consider the data: If a vehicle is driving at 55 mph and the driver takes his eyes off the road for just five seconds, the car will have traveled 100 yards. It is just like driving blind. Of course, the same thing applies to other distracted driving situations, too. For example, changing the radio station, looking for something in the car, eating, and dealing with small children are all considered to be distracted driving.
Negligent Driving Causes Accidents
Distracted driving is negligent driving. When a distracted driver causes an accident he or she is responsible for the injuries and property damage that occurred as a result. If you were hurt in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, it is best to speak with a qualified car accident attorney. Your lawyer will work to gather all the necessary information, including the police report, and eyewitness statements, which could prove that the person was on their phone at the time of the accident.
Car Accident Attorney
If you or a family member were hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be able to collect money to cover your expenses. Medical bills, lost wages, money for pain and suffering, and for emotional trauma, are all damages that you may be owed. Additionally, you need to be compensated for property damages. Contact the skilled auto accident legal team in Columbia at Connell Law Firm to learn how to resolve your case.