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South Carolina's Texting While Driving Law

South Carolina's Texting While Driving Law

“Distracted driving is a problem on America’s roadways. You see it every day: Drivers swerving in their lanes, stopping at green lights, running red ones, or narrowly missing a pedestrian because they have their eyes and minds on their phones instead of the road,” says Ray LaHood, the former U.S. transportation secretary.

Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. While it involves all sorts of distractions, such as eating, reading, changing the radio, looking at a map, applying makeup, trying to control small children in the back seat and so on, by far the most alarming form of distracted driving is texting while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an estimated additional 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”

What is the Law in South Carolina?

In 2014, South Carolina enacted a law making it illegal to write or send texts while driving; however, they could still talk on their phone while driving. But there are a lot of people who think the existing law is way too soft. “South Carolina’s current texting ban doesn’t work,” said Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken. Mr. Taylor said that the $25 fine, “is hardly much of a fine, but worse yet, it’s unenforceable.”

There are lawmakers working to get the state’s anti-texting ban to be toughened. In January, advocates for a bill increasing the penalties for texting while driving argued that distracted driving is worse than drunk driving. Under the proposed legislation, the offense of driving under the influence of an electric device (DUI-E), would involve a $100 fine for a first violation and any subsequent offenses would be punishable by 2 points on a driver license and a $300 fine.

According to, “Across the state, South Carolina Highway Patrol has reported 993 crashes that have caused injuries due to distracted driving in 2018. So far, 12 of those were caused by texting and 13 deadly wrecks were due to distracted driving.”

Will H. 4480 make it to the Senate? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you were hit by a distracted driver, contact our office to speak with a Columbia, SC injury attorney.


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