Palmetto Cycling Coalition e-Alert
January 26, 2010
PCC Supports Ban on Text Messaging Devices and Hand-Held Mobile Telephonesrich
Cell phones at forefront of distracted driving epidemic--let your Representatives know you too support banning cell phone use behind the wheel

The Palmetto Cycling Coalition (PCC), a non-profit organization striving to make South Carolina more bicycle friendly, supports South Carolina House Bill 4282 (H. 4282) that would ban both hand-held cell phone talking and texting by drivers in motor vehicles.  The following statistics indicate how dangerous and potentially deadly these activities can be.

Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)

80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction. (Source: Virginia Tech 100-car study for NHTSA)

Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)

The worst offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers: men and women under 20 years of age. (NHTSA)

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

A driver of a car dialing a cell phone makes the risk of a crash event 2.8 times as high as non-distracted driving; for drivers of trucks, this risk is 5.9 times as high. (Source: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)

Bicyclists are already at a significant risk in South Carolina. The state has historically seen high fatality rates for cyclists and is statistically shown to be one of the riskiest states in the nation for bicycling.  A recent case in Lancaster County, in which two expert cyclists were killed by a motorist who was distracted by cell phone use, reveals the increased vulnerability that cyclists face on roads in South Carolina.

In late September, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation convened a Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. to help identify specific factors involved in distracted driving and discuss ways to prevent it.  A primary outcome of the Summit was a new directive from president Obama prohibiting federal employees and contractors from engaging in text messaging while driving government vehicles.  According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "this order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable.  It shows that the federal government is leading by example." 

Nineteen states across the nation have already instituted a cell phone or text messaging ban.

To increase the safety of road users throughout South Carolina, and to prevent distracted driving from becoming a deadly epidemic on our roadways, the PCC calls on the South Carolina Legislature to pass     H. 4282 during the 2010 legislative session.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, January 25, 2010
Contacting your Legislator
Let them know that you also support this bill!

It is important to let your elected officials how you feel about issues effecting your quality of life.  Contact them regarding the cell phone bill, H. 4282, and please use the stats below as talking points, or revise the above position paper to suit your needs.

To find your Legislator for the SC House of Representatives, visit the South Carolina Legislature Online and enter your nine-digit zip code.

If your Representative is on either the Transportation Subcommittee or is a Co-Sponsor of the bill, then it is particularly important that you contact him.  The following are Subcommittee members:
The following are Co-Sponsors of H. 4282:
Additional talking points
  • Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing (Source:
  • While all distractions can endanger drivers' safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive (Source:
  • Text messaging on a cell phone is associated with the highest risk of all cell phone related tasks (Source:
  • In 2008, 5,870 people were killed (16% of total fatalities) and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the police crash report (Source: FARS)
If you're in the Columbia area Wednesday...

The Transportation Subcommittee is meeting to discuss the proposed bill: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 one hour and a half after adjournment (10 AM); Room 433 Blatt Building, SC Statehouse.  Come join us!
Thanks for supporting safe bicycling in South Carolina.

Rachael Kefalos
Executive Director

"We must act now to stop distracted driving from becoming a deadly epidemic on our nation's roadways."
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood