The fast-paced world has many South Carolina drivers pulled in many directions, which may be why some turn to driving while distracted, either through emails, text messages or other passengers in the car. According to The State, this has drivers paying, both with higher insurance premiums, fines, and unfortunately for some, with their lives.
More than 100 people in South Carolina died in a car crash in the past two years caused by distracted driving: 43 deaths in 2016 and 64 fatalities in 2015. These accidents caused 5,698 injuries in 2016, and insurance companies have taken note. Premiums for drivers in the Palmetto State rose an average of 8.9 percent in 2016, and national data shows rate increases of 16 percent in the last five years. These increases are in line with premium hikes across the country, but in a state that is in the top ten nationwide for deaths caused by high vehicles speeds, the addition of distracted driving on South Carolina roads could prove deadly for many. In fact, reports have found that cell phone usage is present in 64 percent of all car accidents.
As DMV.com explains, while South Carolina does not have legislation at the state level restricting cellphone usage behind the wheel, many cities have passed regulations to help curb distracted driving. Certain cities have passed laws outlawing texting while driving, including Beaufort County and Mount Pleasant. Drivers breaking the law in Mount Pleasant will pay a $50 fine. In addition to texting on the road, Beaufort County does not allow drivers under the age of 18 to use their phones while driving at all–even in hands-free mode. First-time offenders pay $100, with fines increasing each time an offender is caught, up to $500.