South Carolina trying to crack down on distracted driving dangers

Published: Dec. 15, 2017 at 7:05 PM EST
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Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

(News 12 First at Five)

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Texting while driving, an act that has costs lives.

"Driving is not the time to take a look at that message. It can wait," said Lt. Jake Mahoney from Aiken Department of Public Safety.

State Representative Bill Taylor is trying to crack down on distraction with new legislation. Law enforcement stands behind him.

"I think any efforts to make our roadways safer and to encourage our drivers and motorists to focus on the driving is a positive step forward,” said Lt. Mahoney.

Since the texting-while-driving ban hit South Carolina in 2014 until now, Highway Patrol troopers have handed out nearly 3000 citations.

A little less than half are from this year alone.

"I think distracted driving is becoming more prevalent in our traffic collisions."

If passed, Taylor’s legislation would make it against the law to even hold your phone while driving, let alone texting.

Instead of a slap on the wrist with a $25 fine, you'll get a $100 fine.

After the first offense, you can count on a $300 fine with some added strikes on your driving record.

"I think it's about time that we do what we can to ensure all our loved ones are safe on the road."

Taylor has worked on this distracted driving legislation since July and says he's not trying to restrict freedom or hand out big fines, it's about keeping everyone on the roads safe. We'll see come January if this legislation passes through.

Taylor encourages using voice commands like Siri for texting or Bluetooth to make calls. Something I have that helps is one of those phone mounts you can suction to the windshield, because as long as you're hands-free while you’re driving, you're in the clear.