South Carolina bans texting and driving

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW)--South Carolina is now the 49th state to ban texting while driving.

A statewide ban on writing, sending or reading a text while driving took effect Monday when Gov. Nikki Haley signed the law. It is among dozens of new laws the Republican governor has signed in the last week.

But not everyone believes the new ban will be effective with a maximum fine of $50 and no points added to an offender’s license.

“So everybody in the Southeast has a 50 to 150 dollar fine and we come up with a 25, yeah. Okay,” said Steve Diebel at the Aiken Driving Academy.

The ban supersedes various city and county ordinances on texting, creating consistency across the state.
But enforcement of the law may be a problem.

"I was going over the proposed penalties,” said Diebel,” and they [students] would snicker and laugh, and be like 'wow, that's only going to cost me 25 dollars?’"

The law still allows people to text if they are legally stopped or using a hands-free device. It also specifically permits using GPS navigation.
Law enforcement says that in order to change the pattern of texting and driving, parents will need to take a bit more responsibility.

“If your kids see you texting and driving how are you going to tell them not to do it,” said Lance Corporal Judd Jones with South Carolina Highway Patrol.

For the next 178 days, law enforcement will only be issuing warnings rather than writing tickets.