Using your cell phone to text while driving is dangerous, according to students in a class at Dreher High School in Columbia. A vote was taken by the students and they agreed on that, two to one. But the students in the advance placement government studies class went a step further–and they’re drafting legislation to ban texting while driving statewide.
Richland County Representative James Smith helped the students draft the bill and will be sponsoring it in the House during the legislative session that begins next month. He says high school students know the issue well. “It has been shown to be as risky as driving while intoxicated,” he says. “They’re the most prolific texters in the state. This is particularly significant to them, given that they’re new drivers, and their own experiences as well as accidents around the country.”
Smith says there is certainly precident for the law, which has already been inacted in 26 states.
Smith says a distinction exists between texting and regular cell phone usage: “When you’re using a cell phone in a car you’re one to three times more at risk of being in an accident. When you text while driving, you’re more than 20 times more likely to be involved in an accident.”
Smith says the behavior is clearly dangerous. “The average text has someone going at 55 miles-per-hour, disregarding the road for the length of a football field,” he says. “And we know texting to be a growing cause of deaths and injuries on the highway.”
Smith says he’s not proposing that cell phone usage while driving be outlawed, even though some states have such a law.
Representative Bakari Sellers is proposing similar legislation.