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SC House Votes to Ban Texting While Driving

This article originally appeared in The State Newspaper.

South Carolina House members want Palmetto State drivers to put their cellphones down and pay attention to the road.

A bipartisan coalition voted 93-15 Wednesday to ban texting while driving for all drivers. First-time violators would face a $100 fine. Violators who cause fatal wrecks could face jail time. Under the bill, texting would still be allowed when a vehicle is stopped or parked.

“It's about technology getting ahead of keeping our roads safe,” said state Rep. Don Bowen, R-Anderson, the bill's sponsor. “No texting while driving is a no brainer.”

Already, five South Carolina cities—Camden, Clemson, Columbia, Sumter and West Union—have texting bans, according to the South Carolina Municipal Association, which endorses the bill.

But some House members say the bill is archaic and will do little to make roadways safer.

“We need to be introducing meaningful legislation, not piecemeal legislation” said state Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Fairfield, adding the bill only addressed texting, not the use of iPods and other technology.

Others—including state Rep. Kris Crawford, R-Florence—said the bill is another example of “big government” unfairly intruding into people's lives.

After one more procedural vote, the bill moves to the state Senate, where it likely will face stiff opposition. Two years ago, the House approved a similar bill that failed in the Senate.

Gina Smith
The State Newspaper