Distracted Driving Bill Stalls in Carolina Legislature

A Senate bill that could have tightened distracted driving laws in the state has taken a little longer than expected to make it through the legislature.
According to My Horry News, the bill (Senate Bill 186) was filed back in January by Sen. Luke Rankin, R-Myrtle Beach. What this bill was supposed to do was to make it a felony charge for drivers who cause a fatal accident because of driver distractions.

“Right now the highest incident of accidents or collisions are 18- to 25-year-olds,” Rankin said. “Throw in a cell phone and it’s even worse.”

Our Charlotte car accident lawyers understand that distracted driving continues to be a serious problem in the area. Nationwide, there are thousands who are killed every year because of the irresponsible and distracted driving habits of others. According to distraction.gov, there were 3,331 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 416,000 injured in 2010.

Because the legislature is in the first year of a two-year cycle, bills not passed this session may be taken up when the General Assembly reconvenes in January 2014. If it doesn’t make it though in 2014, it’s going to have to be reintroduced.

Why hasn’t it gotten anywhere? Even as debate stalls on this important piece of legislation, prosecutors have decided to drop all charges in the case of a fatal traffic accident in which this behavior was deemed a factor. There’s no lesson to be learned there, and there’s no deterrent when there are no penalties.

A truck driver was slapped with charges back in November after an accident that happened in March. In this accident, his semi allegedly slammed into an SUV and killed a 4-year-old passenger. According to Highway Patrol officers, the truck was going too fast for current weather conditions and the driver was using a cell phone at the wheel.

As it stands now, truck drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone behind the wheel. That’s federal law.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone behind the wheel in North Carolina. On the other hand, all drivers are banned from text messaging in the driver’s seat.

Regardless, drivers should have their attention on the roadway at all times. There should never be a phone call or a text message that’s worth risking someone’s life. And this applies to any and all distractions. We’re talking about eating, smoking, drinking, talking with other passengers and even applying makeup at the wheel. It’s all dangerous and can be deadly. Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Greenville injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Fatal Charlotte Truck Accident Blamed on Distraction, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, May 3, 2013

Are Hands-Free Devices the Answer to the Distracted Driving Problem?, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, April 6, 2013

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