By JAMIE ERTLE - Senior Patrolman Marvin Tabb-Walker has been driving the streets of Beaufort for three years, but come Nov. 10, there will be more than just cars on his radar.
South Carolina is only one of 11 states that does not have a ban against texting and driving. Rather than wait for the state to pass such as law, the city of Beaufort voted to enact a distracted driver ordinance. Now, it's up to Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy and his department to enforce it.
"It's dangerous, and we don't want accidents and people getting hurt on the road. That's really the point of the whole thing. The point is not to be able to have a new violation to write tickets for," Clancy said.
Officers armed with a stack of flyers on the dangers of texting and driving, hit the streets hoping to get the chief's point across. It actually hits close to home for one of the first speeders that Tabb-Walker pulls over.
The driver's excuse for speeding was that his mind was wandering as he and his passenger were talking about a family member who just got into a wreck because of texting behind the wheel.
Several speeders were stopped on SC 170. They also got a flier about the ordinance. Most drivers said they don't text and drive, but they see people doing it all the time.
At Ribaut Road, in front of the hosptial and Technical College of the Lowcountry, there was lots of foot traffic, but drivers were still well over the speed limit. One woman who was pulled over for speeding said she just simply wasn't paying attention. She was then asked about the pending texting law.
"I'm glad because I heard texting and driving is more dangerous than even drinking and driving," she said.
She read a particular statistic out loud.
"Texting and driving is equivalent to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph blindfolded."
"Wow, it's like a death sentence."
That's just what officer Tabb-Walker wants drivers to avoid, whether it be speeding or texting behind the wheel.