On June 4 of this year, Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill allowing South Carolina to join the 48 states and the District of Columbia in the passage of a statewide ban on texting while driving. The bill makes it now illegal to text behind the wheel of a moving vehicle in the Palmetto State. The reason behind the ban is the increasing number of distracted and texting related deaths while driving, each day in the US.
With this law, South Carolina now has a uniform statewide ban that takes precedence over the 19 or so local ordinances that vary from county to county and city to city. The new law doesn’t feature a lot of various fines and penalties but states that fines will start at $25 and violations will not be included in DMV or SLED records. Police are prohibited from confiscating or viewing a cellphone to determine whether a driver was texting at the time of the stop and for the first 180 days following the bill’s enactment, only warnings shall be written. Have no fear though as SC drivers will have the opportunity to text on their device of choice when stopped at a red light or stop sign.
As with South Carolina’s seatbelt law, the texting ban doesn’t come with heavy penalties but instead is designed to push drivers to change their behaviors and create compliance throughout our state. Over the years cell phones have become more sophisticated and we have become more dependent on their services. Unfortunately, distracted driving has become a real problem. We have seen an ever increasing number of serious automobile collisions and injuries caused by cell phone distractions. Many studies reveal that texting while driving is as dangerous as or more so than drinking and driving.