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      Lawmakers welcome AT&T to Statehouse to discuss texting and driving dangers

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH,AP) -- Representative Don Bowen is sponsoring a bill to outlaw texting and driving in South Carolina.

      The Anderson County lawmaker saw a girl texting and driving down the highway in a construction zone and knew something had to be done.

      "Driving with her knee and texting with both hands and I realized at that point we needed to take our technology and laws and bring them up to speed with each other," said Bowen.ã??

      According to the Website Distraction.Gov the average text takes 4.5 seconds to send and at 55 miles an hour, you'll go the distance of a football field.

      That has led to more than a hundred thousand crashes a year and while many people admit they know it's dangerous that doesn't stop them from reaching for their phone.

      "By the time you look down to read that text and look back up at the road anything could happen which would contribute to an accident," said Sgt. Derek Miller.

      Miller is a member of the Columbia Police Department Traffic Safety unit. He says in the short time it takes to read a text, you could've run a red light, hit another car or even run into a pedestrian

      "You're life is much more important and you don't want to risk you're life or someone's else's life because you think you've got to take that text," adds Miller.

      Bowen and others say Wednesday's simulator will have them thinking twice before they reach for their phone.

      "Texting and driving is causing more severe accidents then drinking and driving is South Carolina," adds Bowen. ã??

      Wednesday, AT&T offered lawmakers the opportunity to test a simulator that officials say shows how dangerous it is to try to send a text message while behind the wheel.

      Members of the public were also able to try out the simulators.

      State lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would outlaw texting while driving in South Carolina. Similar legislative efforts have failed in the past.