Distracted driving is a real danger across the nation. In a culture that has grown dependent on mobile devices, texting behind the wheel has become a major hazard, causing needless deaths and injuries.
Federal transportation officials and safety advocates have pushed for laws and greater enforcement to help solve the problem. All but two states – Montana and South Carolina – have laws that address texting while operating a motor vehicle. Now, South Carolina lawmakers are considering joining the majority of states that prohibit drivers from texting.
The state House and Senate have passed separate bills on texting while driving in South Carolina. The House bill would prohibit texting while driving and make it punishable by a $25 fine – an amount that critics say would go too easy on violators.
The Senate bill, meanwhile, would prohibit any driver with a beginner’s permit or conditional license from using a phone behind the wheel.
Some say the law would be difficult to enforce because law enforcement would lack authority to seize and search a driver’s phone.
In the absence of a statewide ban, some municipalities in South Carolina have enacted their own ordinances against texting while driving. But the current array of varying local ordinances across the state can cause a great deal of confusion among drivers.
A state law would apply to everyone who drives in South Carolina. The rules and consequences of texting while driving within this state would be clear.
Many local leaders feel the passage of texting bans by towns and cities pressured state lawmakers to take action.