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Edgefield lawmaker doubts cell, driving dangers

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COLUMBIA -- A local lawmaker said today he strongly opposes restrictions of cell phone use while driving, arguing that he's not convinced the practice is dangerous.

Billboard warns of texting dangers  Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
Billboard warns of texting dangers

"I haven't seen evidence that it's necessary," said Sen. Shane Massey of a proposed ban on handheld cell phones behind the wheel.
"I know there's a lot of speculation out there," added the Edgefield Republican who represents part of Aiken County and ultimately supported a looser bill. The bill before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, S. 642, was changed from prohibiting all handheld cell phone use to one that only bans texting. It cleared the subcommittee with Massey's support and was also amended to apply to drivers of all ages, instead of only to those younger than 18.
Last month a AAA representative told House lawmakers that nearly 2,600 people nationwide died in cell phone-texting related crashes, and that drivers who use cell phones while driving have the same motor skills as people with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content.
Today, Massey, a candidate in the the 3rd congressional district race, questioned where lawmakers should draw the line on activities that distract drivers from the road. He said GPS navigational devices and cell phones both require someone to type in information. But subcommittee chairman Sen. Jake Knotts, R-W. Columbia, said people typically punch in destinations before they embark on their trips.
The the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nearly 6,000 people died nationwide in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver.
"If we wanted to tackle that as a whole, I'm more than willing to sit down and try to deal with that," said Massey, adding, "A gentleman passed me on the interstate reading a book while he was driving."
Lawmakers deferred action on how large to make the fine, which Knotts suggested should be $25, and where the revenue from the fine should go.
The bill, S. 642, is one of half a dozen proposal lawmakers are considering to limit cell phone use by drivers.

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com or (803) 727-4257

Comments (13) Add comment
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miles_kilpatrick
0
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miles_kilpatrick 02/10/10 - 03:56 pm
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Sen. Shane Massey must live

Sen. Shane Massey must live in a yellow submarine. 2,600 is a pretty convincing number.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 02/10/10 - 04:21 pm
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His argument is valid.. why

His argument is valid.. why pick and choose which distracting behaviors to ban. There are many things that distract drivers.. why not include them all and just pass a comprehensive "distracted driver law".. but the main problem is these laws tend to be very difficult to enforce.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/10/10 - 04:31 pm
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Texting while driving needs

Texting while driving needs to go..

momma mia
2
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momma mia 02/10/10 - 04:39 pm
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Shane Massey, I used to have

Shane Massey, I used to have some respect for you. Now, I think you're pretty stupid if you cannot see how texting and driving are a dangerous combination.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 02/10/10 - 04:49 pm
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There are some distracting

There are some distracting things that responsible alert drivers can do without causing accidents, take a sip of a drink, change radio, put in a cd, eat a burger etc... Most responsible people can do those things. The ones who can't are those with the same mentality that driving is secondary the other little things that are more important to them. There is absolutely no need to engage in things that take your eyes off the road for more than a second like texting or reading a book. Thats just plain stupid, careless, neglectful etc..... and if you injure someone due to it, you should be punished harshly. If I see someone texting or reading driving careless, just as I will a drunk driver, I'll call the cops on them in a heart beat. Other citizens helping police by reporting these drivers and being a witness to these things in the prosecution of them is what will help slow down these careless acts by these ignorant people.

Fiat_Lux
16412
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Fiat_Lux 02/10/10 - 05:42 pm
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This is pretty unbelievable.

This is pretty unbelievable. You'da thought he was from Georgia.

KSL
143264
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KSL 02/10/10 - 07:45 pm
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Providing that a call is

Providing that a call is initiated while stopped, such as at traffic light, I don't see how talking on a cell phone while moving in a straight line is anymore distracting than talking to your passengers or, Heaven forbid, having to deal with two fighting car seat passengers in the back seat. Texting needs to be completely out. No texting while driving. Nobody needs to be talking on a cell phone while driving around other lively speaking passengers. By the way, he was commenting on the use of a cell phone (talking). No where does it mention texting. Y'all be fair, now.

scott-hudson
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scott-hudson 02/10/10 - 08:47 pm
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My job requires me to talk on

My job requires me to talk on the phone while I am driving each morning...just remember 1..1000...2...1000....3....1000...4...1000...that is all the time away from vision of the road that it takes to create a really bad accident. You can multi-task while you drive, just keep your eyes on the road while you are doing it...and please don't make yourself the scene of news that I have to cover....
scott

AnotherPerspective
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AnotherPerspective 02/10/10 - 10:11 pm
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We already have a law in

We already have a law in place. It's called failure to maintain control of your vehicle. This is all a bunch of hype by the insurance lobby. Those that can't multi-task, shouldn't multi-task. Those who can, should be allowed to. Using a cell while driving isn't in and of itself dangerous. Not paying attention is dangerous. That is what should be legislated and that is what has been legislated.

Fiat_Lux
16412
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Fiat_Lux 02/10/10 - 10:37 pm
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Sorry, KSL. I thought he had

Sorry, KSL. I thought he had lumped texting in with calling. In truth, though, I don't think talking on the phone is a whole lot better. I know it seems like it would be no different than dealing with fights in the back seat, but, I don't think something going on in the car is as distracting as being focused on something going on far away from the car. That's just been my experience.

The people I usually see talking while driving don't seem as "with it" as other drivers. They often go slower than the flow of traffic, or they slow down when there's no reason to, and they sometimes even start to drift out of their lanes.

dominionfs
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dominionfs 02/11/10 - 12:00 am
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Another, sounds good on the

Another, sounds good on the surface but the problem is those that can't multi-task thinking that they can multi-task. I simply assume that everyone on the road is an idiot and find I am rarely disappointed.

imdstuf
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imdstuf 02/11/10 - 02:17 am
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Maybe Verizon and ATT&T are

Maybe Verizon and ATT&T are big financial supporters of Mosley

seenitB4
96836
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seenitB4 02/11/10 - 04:00 pm
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Todays paper....COPS BLAME

Todays paper....COPS BLAME TEXTING IN MAN'S DEATH..neither speed, alcohol nor drugs factored into the collision that killed the 48 year-old at the scene...Yes texting kills ...get rid of it while driving...talking on cell w/care is a little different.. Duluth Ga. article

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