Will a New Car Help Stop Texting & Driving?


By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "Texting is like watching cancer consume a loved one's body. We can see it growing, but we don't know how to stop it," says Tom Crosby, AAA Carolinas Traffic Safety Foundation

Wednesday, AT&T brought the true reality of texting behind the wheel to the State House with a new simulated car.

A 10 minute documentary, "The Last Text," also played out on projection screens with the stories of real families talking about the affects of texting while driving.

According to a survey by AT&T, 43% of teens admitted to sending a text while driving. 75% said the practice was common among their inner-circles. 97% agreed it's dangerous.

But even with the news and the simulated car, that officials hope will help stop texting and driving, there's a fear that teens will continue to text and drive.

"When they see and do things like this, they tend to not text and drive for a week or two," says Crosby.

And eventually, officials say the habit starts again for both teens and adults.

"The distraction is obvious when you're trying to text and drive at the same time, your eyes have to leave the road," says Representative Phillip Owens, R- District 5

Just this week, a new bill to ban texting and driving in South Carolina made it to the house floor.

Already, the senate has passed a version of the bill, but Owens says the new bill will offer tougher penalties, inlcuding: A $100 fine and two points on your license, if you are stopped while texting but no accident occurs.
If you're in an accident without injury you face a fine, points off your license and the possibility of jail time.
However, if serious bodily injury or death occurs, it's a felony and punishable by at least five years in jail and a fine.

The bill remained on the House floor Wednesday.

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Erik Wood said on Thursday, Feb 7 at 10:24 AM

I read that 94% of drivers think Text and Drive is lethal but over one third still do it. I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that over 3/4 of teens text daily - many text more than 4000 times a month. New college students use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts from their bikes. I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways. Erik Wood OTTER app (Since 2010, free on all Android carriers)

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