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Greenville latest city to consider distracted driving ban

As reported in earlier blogs, South Carolina and Montana are the only two states that do not have a comprehensive ban on distracted driving. Cities in South Carolina have enacted differing bans on this behavior.

Greenville residents participated in a public hearing on Jan. 13 for consideration of the most comprehensive distracted driving ban in South Carolina. Under the proposal, Greenville would ban the use of cell phones and other hand-held devices while driving within the city limits. Greenville would provide exceptions for police, emergencies and first-responders. Drivers could also use hand-free devices to talk and access GPS.

Greenville's proposed ban would impose a first-time penalty of $100 and increase the penalty $100 for each following offense. A judge could confiscate the device after the third offense.

Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth said that the hearing would help the City Council decide the ban's parameters and whether there should be more exceptions. Mayor Sudduth said that voluntary compliance will be essential because of police staffing limitations.

At least 13 South Carolina cities have enacted bans on texting and driving which vary in some ways, according to the Municipal Association. Clemson's law, for example, does not include escalating fines.

Engaging in tasks involving distracted driving such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting triple the risk of being involved in a car crash. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in accidents involving distractions while another 421,000 were injured. The lack of a uniform state law indicates that this dangerous problem will continue in South Carolina.

Victims of a distracted driving car accident may be entitled to compensation for medical treatment, injuries and other losses and expenses. People should make sure to protect their rights during an accident investigation, settlement negotiations and during any litigation.

Source: Greenville News, "Greenville to hear opinions on distracted driving ban," Anna Lee, Jan. 11, 2014

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