South Carolina is one of the few remaining states without a statewide ban or restriction on texting while driving. Florida recently joined the majority of states in banning the practice.

However, local governments in South Carolina have begun to regulate texting while driving, the Post and Courier reports. Recently, Charleston City Council’s Traffic and Transportation Committee met to consider an ordinance to stop drivers from reading or writing messages on handheld devices.

In addition, the Mount Pleasant Town Council has voted in favor of a ban on driving while texting. A second vote is required before the law can take effect.

Beaufort, Columbia and Clemson also have laws that bar using a handheld device for text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

With different laws, fines can range from $50 to $300 plus court costs. State Representative Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, would like to create more severe penalties. He is a co-sponsor of a bill that would make first time offenders pay $250 or spend 30 days in prison and have their licenses suspended for a month.

Currently, at least eight South Carolina cities and towns ban texting while driving. This means that residents and tourists must be aware of individual texting laws as they drive on the state’s roads. Each area can have different regulations and various punishments. Until a statewide ban exists, texting laws in South Carolina will remain inconsistent and potentially confusing to drivers.

Effectiveness of Statewide Bans

A recent USA TODAY survey of state police agencies shows that even with anti-texting laws, it is difficult to ticket violates. Some state agencies admit that they give less than one citation per day. This is partly because it’s hard for police to tell if a driver is texting. Often, drivers hide their mobile devices in their laps, which poses a challenge to law enforcement.

Educating people about the dangers of texting and creating laws that provide consequences are still important. Research shows that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 times.

In 2011, according to the most recent data, 3,331 people died and 387,000 were injured due to distracted driving. Although these figures don’t isolate the texting crashes, this behavior is viewed as one of the most dangerous distractions. Texting monopolizes a driver’s eyes, hands and mind, taking attention from the road.

Need Legal Help?

Car accidents may happen without any warning and often result in serious injuries or even death. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a South Carolina automobile accident because of somebody else’s negligence, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm.

Whether you need guidance on accidents involving distracted drivers, reckless driving or some other type of vehicle collision, call (877) 941-2615 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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