South Carolina Legislature Refuses to Ban Texting While Driving
According to an article on WSAV.com, the South Carolina legislative session came to a close recently without passing a law that would have made it illegal to use a cell phone for text messaging while driving. A bill that completely banned texting while driving was passed by the House, but not even a watered-down version of the bill could pass the Senate.Driver Texting
Now, South Carolina is only one of six states where it is legal for anyone to text and drive. Texting and driving is illegal for all drivers in Georiga, and hand-held cell phone use is illegal for any drivers under 18 and for school bus drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently encouraging all states to ban texting while driving.
Senator Jake Knotts, a Republican from West Columbia, South Carolina, sponsored the Senate version of the bill that did not pass. “Some of ‘em just say, ‘Well, I don’t want to tell our people what they can or cannot do’,” Knotts said of people who opposed the bill. “Well, they’ve got to understand driving is a privilege, not a right.”
Knotts tried to amend the Senate version of the bill to get it passed. He worked to limit the texting ban to only drivers under 18, and to ban phones completely for all drivers in school and work zones. However, even passage of this watered-down version of the bill got delayed. Eventually, the legislative session ended before the bill could be passed.
According to some legislators, even if the bill had passed the Senate, the House would have rejected the Senate’s version of the bill for not being strong enough. Representative Don Bowen, a Republican from Anderson, said the Senate’s version of the bill wasn’t strong enough. “We want to be sure that we make that penalty so stiff that it acts as a deterrent and stops it,” Bowen said. “And we feel like with what the Senate did, the worst you’d probably get is a spank on the wrist,” he says.
It’s unfortunate that South Carolina legislators weren’t able to come to an agreement on this law. Distracted driving, especially using hand-held devices to send text messages or emails, is the fastest growing traffic problem in our country. More and more states are banning texting while driving, or eliminating cell phone use completely in vehicles. Distracted driving caused nearly 4,000 deaths in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While making texting while driving illegal won’t eliminate all instances of distracted driving, hopefully it will deter many people from engaging in this dangerous practice.
Ty Wilson is a Savannah distracted driving lawyer who offers free information at tywilsonlaw.com about Georgia personal injury claims and Georgia automobile insurance. Visit for articles, to watch videos and to order his FREE BOOKS before talking to the insurance company, hiring a lawyer or signing any forms.
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