You see it happening. You may be doing it. But it is against the law. And, for good reason.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 youth between ages 16 and 20 are killed daily on the nation’s roads. With opening of the new school year this week for Clover and next week in Charlotte, it’s a good time to remember to remind our children not to text and drive.
The Department of Public Safety says sending a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; at 55 mph, that would be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.
On June 9, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed off on a state law to ban texting while driving, making South Carolina the 49th state to do so. North Carolina already has a ban prohibiting drivers from texting while drivers. Montana is now the only state in the country without a ban on texting while driving.
Distraction from texting while driving causes about 3,000 fatalities per year, overtaking alcohol-related 2,700 fatalities per year, according to AAA and the National Safety Council.
In a recent University of Virginia study of 2,000 drivers, 71 percent indicated TWD was unacceptable driver conduct, yet 45 percent admitted doing it. 95 percent text while driving alone, with 32 percent when parents or friends are with them.
We encourage parents to set an example by not texting while driving. Disable texting provisions if possible. Urge your children to follow a zero tolerance police for texting while driving, including people they ride with.
Like with seatbelt use, it took many fatalities until state government implemented Click-it-or-Ticket programs, motivated, in part, out of fear of Federal Highway Funding loss.
Unfortunately, being caught texting and driving carries little weight as far as fines, which start at $25. Perhaps the severity will increase like DUI laws in the future. Follow the slogan “Stay Alive, don’t drink and drive” and save a life, don’t text and drive. There’s no excuse for it.