According to the Sun News, SC Highway Patrol troopers will be creeping in unmarked cars this week looking for people who are using their cellphones behind the wheel.
Troopers, in unmarked cars, will be looking for drivers distracted by cellphones on interstates and main highways across the state. Two drivers were found in violation along U.S. Highway 501 near the Tanger Outlet within minutes after 12:30 p.m. Monday.
Although South Carolina’s texting-while-driving law only carries a 25$ fine, it also gives police an excuse to pull you over, approach your car window, and possibly find other violations that they can charge you with.
If the proven dangers of texting while driving are not enough to discourage you from using your cell phone in the car, maybe the threat of unnecessary police contact will do the trick? Or the knowledge that, if there is an auto accident, you could be the one to blame for it?
South Carolina’s Texting While Driving Law
S.C. Code Section 56-5-3890 makes it illegal to use a cellphone or other wireless device “to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle…”
Exceptions to the law include:
- When your car is parked;
- If you are using a hands-free wireless device;
- If you are calling for emergency assistance; or
- If you are using GPS.
Law enforcement cannot “seize, search, view, or require the forfeiture of” your phone or other device based solely on a violation of this statute.
They also cannot “search or request to search a motor vehicle, driver, or passenger in a motor vehicle, solely because of a violation of this section.” They can, however, use the traffic stop as an excuse to look for other potential violations that may lead to a search of your car.
I’m a Responsible Adult – Why Shouldn’t I Text and Drive if I’m Careful?
Don’t text and drive because it is proven to be unsafe and causes car wrecks.
Don’t do it because, once an officer has pulled your car over, there is no way to predict what will happen. A traffic stop for texting can easily turn into a trip to jail if things get out hand.
If an officer smells alcohol, smells marijuana, or sees contraband in plain view in your car, they will then have an independent basis to search your car. In most cases, if an officer just says they saw or smelled something illegal in your car, they will then have an independent basis to search unless you can prove they are lying.
Don’t text and drive because, if there is an accident, the fact that your phone was in your hand may be negligence that could: 1) make you at-fault for the accident and responsible for any injuries, or 2) bar your recovery under SC’s comparative negligence laws even if the other side caused the accident.
Rock Hill, Little River, and Myrtle Beach, SC Accident Lawyers
If you were involved in a car wreck where the other driver was texting or using their cellphone in violation of SC’s texting while driving law, the other driver may be at fault in the accident and responsible for your injuries and any other damage or losses that they caused.
Call us now at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach auto accident lawyer on the Axelrod team to discuss your case and find out how we can help.