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Action Alert: H.3355 in subcommittee hearing January 29th!

  Tell your Legislator: Support H.3355!

Tomorrow, the Transportation Subcommittee
of the SC House Education & Public Works Committee will consider
H.3355 – “Driving Under the Influence of an Electronic Device, or DUI-E law”,
aka the Distracted Driving bill, at:

2 PM, Tuesday, January 29 ROOM 433,
Solomon Blatt Building, 1105 Pendleton St, Columbia

While the speakers’ list is pretty full from this bill’s broad support, it will be helpful if we have a large number of people in the room to show support in numbers.

Please contact your representative, and let him/her know you are a constituent and that you want him/her to support H3355 for safer roads in South Carolina.  Transportation Subcommittee Members:

  1. Tommy M. Stringer – Transportation Subcommittee Chair (Cosponsor of H3355), District 18 – Greenville County (R)
    Email (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1774999787)
    or call (864) 877-9511
  2. Terry Alexander – District 59 – Darlington & Florence Counties (D)
    Email (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=11363635)
    or call (803) 734-3004
  3. Robert Brown – District 116 – Charleston & Colleton Counties (D)
    Email (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=220454519)
    or call (843) 889-6440
  4. Paula Rawl Calhoon – District 87 – Lexington County (R)
    Email (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=293181783)
    or call (803) 212-6924
  5. Timothy A. ‘Tim’ McGinnis (cosponsor of H3355) – District 56 – Horry County (R)
    Email (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1256818031)
    or call (803) 212-6935

Then ask your state representative to cosponsor H3355.  It currently has 10 cosponsors (Taylor, Allison, Elliott, Tallon, Cogswell, McCravy, V.S. Moss, McGinnis and Stringer).  If you don’t know who your representative is:

  1. Go to: www.scstatehouse.gov
  2. Under the “Find Your Legislators” search box enter your address.

Distracted Driving is a significant contributor to traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported the problem with these stats:

  • In 2016, there were 37,461 traffic fatalities resulting from 34,439 fatal crashes involving 51,914 drivers;
    9% (3,450) of fatalities occurred in motor vehicles crashes involving a distracted driver;
  • Of the 3,450 fatalities 562 were non-occupants of a motor vehicle (pedestrians, bicyclists or others);
  • Traffic Injury data from 2016 is not yet available from NHTSA, but from their 2015 Traffic Safety Facts report:
    • Of 1,715,000 traffic injuries, 265,000 (15%) occurred in motor vehicles crashes involving a distracted driver

Why do we need a law? Significant research indicates cell phones are addicting:

  • Our brains instinctively respond to the alerts our phones send us that signal incoming messages or social media updates, making it harder to resist the urge to use your smartphone while driving.
  • An incoming text, email, or social media update on our smartphones results in an increase of dopamine to the brain, which is a chemical that attributes to the feeling of arousal, leading to a compulsion to check your smartphone, even if doing so will knowingly put you in danger.
  • Each time an individual operates their phone while behind the wheel without a sub-optimal outcome, it reinforces the idea that it’s safe to do so and that that person can successfully multitask that way again and again in the future, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s distracted driving research lab director, Despina Stavrinos.

What does H.3355 do? It takes a significant step forward in addressing distracted driving crashes, fatalities and injuries in South Carolina, H3355 expands on South Carolina’s anti-texting law to forbid the use of hand held electronic devices while driving. Bill text here. Some may feel the bill does not go far enough in terms of penalties or in addressing other causes of distracted driving, but we aren’t going to let perfect be the enemy of the good. Non-motorized road users are especially affected by distracted driving, so H.3355 can use your support! We strongly feel H3355 is an important step in reducing our risk on our streets and roads.

Representatives from the following organizations will be speaking in favor of the legislation:

  • SC Department of Insurance
  • SC Department of Public Safety
  • AAA of the Carolinas
  • SE Chapter of the National Safety Council
  • Palmetto Cycling Coalition
  • SC Trucking Association
  • Abate of South Carolina
  • StopDistractions.org
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