4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
According to a CBS News report, texting while walking is the cause of 10% of emergency room visits for pedestrian injuries.
Honolulu, Hawaii has become the first city in the country to pass a “texting while walking” law, which allows police to write a traffic ticket to persons who look at their phones or tablets while crossing an intersection.
Chicago is now considering a “distracted walking” law that would allow up to a $500 fine for persons who look at their phones while in an intersection.
As far as I know, Myrtle Beach and other jurisdictions in South Carolina are not considering similar bills, but I predict this will take off over the next few years like the “texting while driving” laws that are now commonplace nationwide.
Pedestrian accidents are a common problem in Myrtle Beach and other SC cities. In many cases, these accidents are the result of drivers who are not looking for pedestrians or who are not following the rules of the road.
But, the frequency of pedestrian accidents that are caused by pedestrians looking at their phones is surely on the rise as well. Should SC make it a crime to text while walking in intersections?
If 10% of emergency room visits for pedestrian injuries are caused by distracted walking, wouldn’t a law prohibiting distracted walking help save lives?
We want to save lives. But, at what point do we say that we have enough laws? We are already in a “nanny state” where we have a law on the books for just about everything under the sun. (100% of pedestrian accidents are caused by walking. Should we pass a law against walking to save lives?)
If you were struck by a car or truck at an intersection, the driver who hit you may be responsible for the damage that they caused if their actions were negligent, reckless, or intentional. For example, if they blew through a stop sign, they might be liable. If they failed to look for pedestrians, they may be liable.
On the other hand, if you were not following the rules of the road as a pedestrian, the driver may not be responsible.
South Carolina has what is called a “modified comparative negligence rule.” This means that if you are more than 50% at fault for an accident you cannot recover damages. If jurors find that you were at fault but less than 50% at fault, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the jurors attribute to you.
Although not currently illegal under SC law, jurors may find that texting while walking is negligence on your part and your recovery could be reduced or even barred depending on the percentage of fault jurors attribute to you.
If there is any hint that you were looking at a phone when the accident occurred, the insurance company may attempt to deny your damages claim, and this is one of many reasons why it is critical that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident before you give any statements to the other driver’s insurance company.
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