Studies show texting while driving could be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Currently, it is -not- illegal for a driver in South Carolina to text while they drive, but Walhalla Senator Thomas Alexander hopes that will soon change. Alexander recently introduced a bill designed to target texing while driving, specifically for ages 18 and under. He says the passing of the bill may not be easy.
“I think it will be a hard sell, actually. A lot of folks see that as an individual freedom and having the opportunity to do that, but I do think we need to address it. It’s kind of like many of other things when they start to impact other people, and it is a cause of accidents, and it’s not just those things, it’s a lot of intentiveness of just not paying attention,” says Alexander.
As texting proves to be most popular among young adults, in the bill, Alexander proposes the idea for them to use a hands-free device, rather than the actual cell phone.
“I think that is a reasonable direction to go, is have a hands-free device, but that certainly still does not take care of the texting, which is probably done more these days than other things. Unfortunately, a lot of times it’s too late before they realize what a danger it is,” says Alexander.
Alexander says he is sensitive to freedom of individual rights, but when it comes to harming other people, something needs to change.
“It is definitely a traffic hazard, there’s no question about it, and it needs to be addressed. I personally think it is wise to start with the young people at least, when they don’t have as much driving experience. I was reading an article just recently, that young folk 18 and younger, maybe 21 and younger, are five times greater chances of being involved in an accident than someone between 25 and 64,” says Alexander.
Alexander says the proposal is not designed to punish people, but provide safety on the state’s highways. The bill will be addressed in the next legislative session, which begins in January.