Time runs out for SC texting ban

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.
Posted on Jun 02, 2010
With only two days left in this legislative season, it appears unlikely that South Carolina lawmakers will pass a ban outlawing texting while driving.

In 2008, 2,600 people died in crashes involving cell phone use and nearly half the states in the U.S. have passed bans limiting cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. South Carolinians, however, may have to wait until next year to see a corresponding law with too little time for the House and Senate to reconcile their similar proposals.

In March, the House voted 98-18 in favor of a texting ban. Their bill, like the one discussed in the Senate, would ban drivers from typing, sending and reading emails and text messages while driving. Neither bill would outlaw drivers from making or receiving phone calls while behind the wheel.

Senators question how a texting ban would be enforced. They wonder how law enforcement would be able to tell the difference between someone searching for and selecting a contact to place a call and reading a text message. However, there is not enough support in the Senate to ban cell phone use while driving altogether.

Safety advocates were upset to hear the bill is likely dead for this year. Tom Crosby, the vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas expressed his disapointment, saying that it is a legislature's responsibility to recognize and prevent "social ills" like texting while driving.

The bill would have carried $20 fine and a one point violation on the record of a driver who was caught texting while driving had it passed.

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