Since passing an ordinance aimed at distracted driving in 2010, the Camden Police Department says the mere threat of being ticketed has acted as a deterrent against the practice.


Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- There's a lot of talk around the state about how to crack down on distracted driving.

The city of Camden passed a ban on texting and emailing while driving in 2010 and police there - say it's making a difference.

Camden's City Council passed a resolution last week, marking April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month hoping the number of distracted driving wrecks will continue to decrease.

For Jaylen Hasty, who was visiting Camden Monday afternoon, it's personal.

"I had a friend back home in Texas that was coming home late from a party and she was texting and driving, and it just didn't turn out too well," Hasty said.

"She survived the car crash, but she's pretty hurt from it. She's in bad condition."

Reasons like those are why Camden passed a ban on distracted driving four years ago. Lietenant Lee Boan is the Commander of the Camden Police Department's Patrol Division.

"A lot of people are thinking it's us against them out here, and it's not," Boan said. "(When) we stop somebody for texting and driving, we're not trying to make money off of writing tickets to them, it's just to make the roads safer."

Since passing an ordinance banning various forms of distracted driving in 2010, the Camden Police Department says the number of distracted driving related accidents has declined dramatically, dropping 56 percent.

"It's helped out a lot," Boan said. "I think most people, once they know that it's unlawful to do something, it makes them less likely to do it."

The law targets distracted driving in three ways: a person cannot be driving a car while texting, reading a text, or emailing. That excludes GPS systems, or when a person is parked or stopped at a traffic light.

If an officer is unsure about if a person is simply looking for directions on their phone ,the law covers that too.

"Once you stop them, we have the authority to take their device and look at it, see what they were doing on the device."

Reasons like potentially saving the lives of many are why Boan says the work is worth the effort.

"It's just that split second is all it takes to get involved in a traffic accident," Boan said.

Hasty believed the laws should be more widespread.

"Every body should have the same law because it's really dangerous," she said.

According to the South Carolina Municipal Association, 15 different municipalities in the state have passed laws banning texting and driving.

The City of Greenville has a ban that goes into affect Tuesday.

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