Action Alert: H.3355 in committee

Tell your Legislator: Support H.3355!

Wednesday, the 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:

2:30 PM, Wednesday, February 6, Room 433,
Solomon Blatt Building, 1105 Pendleton St, Columbia

Traffic deaths per 100 million VMT averaged 61% higher and traffic deaths per 100,000 population averaged 78% higher in South Carolina relative to the nation for the three most recent years for which data are available.

At last Tuesday’s Transportation Subcommittee hearing representatives from the American Automobile Association (AAA) of the Carolinas, the SC Department of Insurance, the SC Department of Public Safety, the SC Trucking Association, and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition all testified in favor of H3355.  See blogpost of this broad list of speakers and “gripping” testimony.

Representative John Carson (R Georgia), the primary sponsor of Georgia’s distracted driving bill that was passed last year, testified that insurance rates and fatality rates are already decreasing in Georgia. South Carolina law enforcement supports the legislation and their representative noted it will be a much more enforceable law than the current anti texting law.

It is critical to the passage of H3355 for legislators to hear from us.


  1. Contact your representative, 
  2. Let them know you are a constituent,
  3. You support H3355, and
  4. You want them to vote in favor of H3355 “for safer roads in South Carolina”.

House Education & Public Works Committee:

  1. Merita A. “Rita” Allison, Chair – Spartanburg County (cosponsor H3355), (803) 734-3053, Email 
  2. Robert L. BrownCharleston & Colleton Counties, (803) 737-3170, Email
  3. Lind “Lin” BennettCharleston & Dorchester County, (803) 212-6948, Email
  4. Paula Rawl CalhounLexington County, (803) 212-6954, Email
  5. Bobby J. CoxGreenville County, (803) 212-6883, Email
  6. Jerry N. Govan, Jr.Orangeburg County, (803) 734-3012, Email
  7. Timothy A “Tim” McGinnisHorry County (cosponsor H3355), (803) 212-6935, Email
  8. Bill TaylorAiken County (Sponsor H3355), (803) 212-6923, Email
  9. Chris WootenLexington County, (803) 212-6897, Email
  10. Ronald “Ronnie” YoungAiken County, (803) 212 6917, Email
  11. Terry AlexanderFlorence County, (803) 734-3004, Email
  12. Wendy C. BrawleyRichland County, (203) 212-6961, Email
  13. Converse A “Con” Chellis, IVDorchester County, (803) 212-6871, Email
  14. R. Raye FelderYork County, Business Phone: (803) 212-6892, Email
  15. Steven Wayne LongSpartanburg County, (803) 212-6878, Email
  16. Tommy M. StringerSpartanburg County (cosponsor H3355), (803) 212-6881, Email
  17. Ivory Torrey ThigpenRichland County, (803) 212-6794, Email
  18. Richard L. “Richie” YowChesterfield County, (803) 212-6949, Email

Then ask your state representative to cosponsor H.3355.  It currently has 14 cosponsors (Taylor, Allison, Elliott, Tallon, Cogswell, McCravy, V.S. Moss, Young, McGinnis, Stringer, Felder, Calhoon, Hardee and Govan).  If you don’t know who your representative is:

  1. Go to:
  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 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 testified in favor of the legislation:

  • SC Department of Insurance
  • SC Department of Public Safety
  • AAA of the Carolinas
  • Palmetto Cycling Coalition
  • SC Trucking Association
  • Abate of South Carolina

Amy Johnson Ely

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