A South Carolina House subcommittee is considering legislation that would prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving.
Ned Blackmon of Lancaster testified before the panel that his 35-year-old son was killed in 2003 when a woman using a cell phone made a left turn and caused an accident with a logging truck. That, in turn, caused Monty Blackmon’s car, which was behind the woman on the highway, to be crushed. At the time of the accident Monty Blackmon was returning from his job as an engineer. Blackmon says the accident occurred on Highway 265.
(Blackmon decribes his son’s accident MP3 :24)
The subcommittee is chaired by Aiken County Representative Don Smith. “Honestly, when I’m in my neighborhood back home I get more comments from people on texting and cell phone use than I do on budget cuts,” says Smith. “And we’ve had some bad budget cuts in the last few years. There is a lot of concern about the driving issue right now.”
But while many people want to ban texting while driving, not everyone favors banning chatting on a cell phone. Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel says his Department is strongly behind the part of the bill that would prohibit texting. “At this point, we’re looking at it incrementally and what we can get passed this year,” says Keel. “Of the studies that have been done, text messaging is the more dangerous of the two. That’s the part of the bill we hope will get passed.”
The panel will meet again Wednesday, February 3rd and take a vote on the issue.