Texting While Driving Laws In South Carolina
Texting is well documented as one of the biggest distractions to drivers and it often causes serious, injurious accidents. Most states have some form of law against mobile phone use at the wheel, sometimes called “Driving Under the Influence of an Electronic Device” or DUIE.
Some states, though, are more relaxed than others when it comes to this driving distraction. South Carolina, as one example, has weak rules and enforcement of its anti-texting ban on motorists. This disappoints both individuals and families who suffer because of a negligent driver texting while driving.
The good news is that SC laws on driver phone use may improve soon. Let’s take a look at current rules and how they might change.
Current South Carolina Law On Texting And Driving
South Carolina bans texting while driving. The ban includes instant messaging, social media messaging, and emailing on any handheld device such as a smartphone, PDA, or tablet.
Using a hands-free device, however, on the road is allowed. Drivers can make phone calls or use GPS if they do not hold the gadget in their hand. Drivers are also allowed to text or use their phones if their car is stopped or parked.
Though the ban exists, SC imposes a relatively light punishment for those who violate it. A driver convicted of texting while driving in the state will have to pay a fine of only $25.
Further, the violation is not considered a criminal offense and will not show up in the driver’s records. As a traffic offense, texting while driving is considered secondary, meaning that traffic officers cannot just pull over a driver for texting – the motorist has to have another (primary) violation.
By comparison, texting while driving is a misdemeanor in Alaska, punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year. A fine of $1,000 is also imposed in Iowa for texting drivers who cause accidents. And in Utah, violators could face a $750 fine with possible jail time. Other states also impose fines of several hundred dollars.
Stricter Texting While Driving Laws Anticipated In SC
Citizens and lawmakers alike have talked about the need for stricter rules on texting and driving in SC. In recent years, several proposals have surfaced regarding how our roads could be made safer by restricting texting motorists.
A bill currently being considered by the State House proposes banning drivers from holding a cellphone for any reason, not just texting. The rationale is that the current law in SC makes it easy for drivers to deny that they were texting. When caught with a device in their hand, they often claim that they were just holding their phone and not texting.
Under the proposed bill, drivers would be completely prohibited from holding a device in their hands, except when they are pressing a single button to start or end a call. The fine for violators would also be increased to $200.
Holding Negligent Drivers Accountable – Contact Kassel McVey
While South Carolina law on texting and driving is still being refined, victims of irresponsible drivers already have a legal recourse to get compensated. With the right attorney, South Carolinians who have been injured or have lost a loved one in a texting-while-driving crash may successfully claim against the negligent driver, holding them accountable for their actions.
The attorneys at Kassel McVey are some of the most competent in South Carolina when it comes to getting accident victims rightfully compensated. Talk to us about your accident with a negligent motorist. Call Kassel McVey today at (803) 256-4242.
Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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