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South Carolina's Texting While Driving Ban

South Carolina's Texting While Driving Ban

A lot of people are in the dangerous habit of texting while driving. While it’s illegal in South Carolina, the ban has been hard for officers to enforce. However, lawmakers in South Carolina are considering a proposal that would push officers to write more tickets for texting while driving, which would carry much higher fines than the current $25.00.

Texting while driving has become an American epidemic and it takes thousands of innocent lives each year. AAA Carolinas Spokeswoman, Tiffany Wright testified before a House panel earlier this year saying, “It’s become more of a traffic safety issue than drunk driving.” Wright continues, “To change behavior, you have to create stiffer penalties for drivers. We’ve seen this, historically, with seat-belt legislation and drunk driving.”

$25 Texting Fine ‘Not Enough’

The current law reads: “It is unlawful for a person to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets or highways of this State,” but the minor $25 fine isn’t doing enough, if anything to discourage people from doing it.

Rep. Bill Taylor told a House panel that police officers aren’t writing tickets because they aren’t able to prove that drivers are texting, according to The State. “You could write 1,300 a day in Columbia,” Taylor said.

Under Taylor’s proposal, the fine for texting while driving would be increased from $25 to $100 for a first offense, and a second or subsequent offense would incur a $300 fine and two points against the person’s driver license, which would increase the offender’s insurance premiums. Taylor also wants to help officers out by letting them issue tickets whenever they see a phone in a driver’s hand, including when the driver is on a call.

Going further, Taylor’s proposal would prohibit drivers from using their cell phone while sitting at a red light or a stop sign, which is not currently banned under state law.

Were you hit by a distracted driver? If you’re a victim of texting while driving, contact us to schedule a free consultation with a Columbia, SC personal injury attorney.


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