Hi, my name is Kenneth Berger, and I'm excited to offer an annual $1000 scholarship to a South Carolina student. You'll hear that close to 60% of people under the age of 35 will admit to texting and driving. The problem is, and you've seen this out on the roadways, too, it is not just young people who are texting and driving. I see it almost every time I'm at a stop light, almost every time I'm out on the interstate, and those texts, they're taking their eyes off the road, that are causing distractions are also costing innocent people their health and their lives. And we want to find out from you, from students, about suggestions, ways that we can help, in South Carolina, folks can reduce and work to eliminate distracted driving, and we want to give you $1000 for your help in the form of a scholarship. Applying is really easy. All you got to do is complete the application, write an essay on the dangers of distracted driving and your thoughts on ways it can be reduced and one day eliminated. And then you just got to follow simple instructions on that scholarship page to submit it. We are looking forward to giving away a thousand bucks. Help make our road ways safer by giving us those suggestions so that we can share it with others, an in return, get a $1000 scholarship.

What Are Examples of Distracted Driving?

When people think of distracted driving, they immediately think of people texting on their cellphones. However, there are so many different things that can take a driver's attention away from the road:

  • Typing a destination into the GPSMan Distracted Driving in South Carolina
  • Grooming (putting on makeup, brushing your hair, etc.)
  • Talking to other passengers in the car
  • Chatting on your cellphone
  • Texting on your cellphoneincluding updating Facebook or Twitter
  • "Rubber-necking," or trying to catch a glimpse of scenery or an accident on the road
  • Eating while driving

Distracted Driving Laws in South Carolina

In recent years, incidents involving a driver using a cellphone or other mobile device have received much attention. Many states have begun to institute laws regarding cellphone use. In 2014, South Carolina banned texting and driving, but the penalty is just a $25 fine, and officers often have difficulty enforcing the law because drivers claim they're simply using a GPS or controlling their music. In 2019, South Carolina lawmakers attempted to pass a hands-free law but were unsuccessful. Many people are pushing for statewide distracted-driving laws; we will be monitoring developments closely.

4 Legal Steps to Prove Texting and Driving After a Car Accident 

  1. Obtain and Send a Spoliation Letter. preservation of evidence letter (also known as a "spoliation" letter) should be sent to the distracted driver and his/her insurance company as soon after the wreck as possible. The letter my office uses demands that the cellphone, along with text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, internet usage, and all other data history be preserved exactly as it existed at the time of the accident. If we learn that the phone was tampered with or any potential evidence was deleted after receipt of our "spoliation" letter, we can seek to have the judge inform our jury of this fact in the event the case goes to trial. That looks very bad for the defendant. On the other hand, if evidence is not destroyed, we may very well have our "smoking gun" in the form of text messages that were sent and received in the moments leading up to the collision. Either way, a preservation of evidence goes a long way towards proving distracted driving.
  2. Conducting Discovery. In the event a lawsuit becomes necessary, we conduct what is known as “discovery.” In other words, we seek to discover as much as possible about the crash while uncovering every piece of evidence. Initially, we send out written discovery requests, known as interrogatories, requests for production, and requests to admit to establish that texting – or some other form of cellphone distraction – caused the crash.
  3. Sending a Subpoena. After a lawsuit is filed, South Carolina law allows subpoenas to be sent to any person or entity possessing potential evidence. To this end, a subpoena should be sent to the negligent driver's cellphone provider to obtain cellphone records. While the subpoena response may only provide a call history or monthly data usage, it can provide evidence of how much time the at-fault driver spends glued to their cellphone.
  4. Receiving a Statement. If depositions are required to prove the case further and hold the driver responsible for his/her actions, the attorney should investigate the distracted driving issue. This is especially true for rear-end collisions and blown stop sign cases. Simply put, a driver does not run into the back of someone else unless he is going far too fast for the conditions, following too closely, or driving while distracted. Many times, it is some combination of these dangerous variables. Though the defendant may not fully admit to using his cellphone at the time of the wreck, he will be forced to admit at least one major safety law violation (speeding, tailgating, taking his eyes off the road for a dangerous length of time) or look very foolish denying it. No matter his answer, you win.

Representing Auto Accident Victims in Columbia and Across South Carolina

Distracted driving is a growing problem on our South Carolina roads and across the country. Car accident attorney Kenneth Berger explains what motivated him to offer the Lawyers Against Distracted Driving scholarship. For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit our scholarship page here. We look forward to your suggestions on reducing distracted driving here in our state. 

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].