Earlier this year, South Carolina lawmakers passed legislation that bans texting while driving. After the law was approved by Governor Nikki Haley, a 180-day grace period was initiated to give drivers time to become familiar with the law. During the first 180 days the ban was in effect, authorities only issued warnings if they spotted drivers texting behind the wheel. Now, authorities throughout South Carolina are officially able to write tickets and fine motorists who text while driving.
Here at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we are thrilled that South Carolina has joined a majority of the nation in prohibiting texting while driving - an act that causes thousands of preventable injuries and deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA). We'd also like to remind residents across the state not to text message while driving, not only to save yourself from tickets and fines, but to save lives as well!
Here are some important facts about the texting while driving ban:
- It is illegal for drivers of all ages to text message while a vehicle is moving.
- Drivers are allowed to text, e-mail, and send instant messages if their vehicle is parked or stopped at a stop light or stop sign.
- It is still legal for drivers to talk on a mobile phone and used GPS devices.
- Motorists stopped for texting while driving can be ticketed and fined $25. Any subsequent offense will also result in a $25 fine.
- In order to cite motorists for texting while driving, police must clearly witness drivers text messaging while the vehicle is in motion.
- The law replaces all local bans on texting while driving - including a Charleston law that fined motorists $100 for text messaging. The fine will now be lowered to $25.
South Carolina's texting while driving ban is a significant step toward making our state's roads and highways safer places, and it is a law 44 states in the U.S. currently enforce. Although the ban is welcomed by many in the state, some local residents have expressed concern that it doesn't go far enough. Many believe that the fine should be increased. In Oregon, for example, drivers can be fined up to $142 for a first-time texting while driving offense.
Our firm hopes that all South Carolinians take the texting while driving ban seriously. Our lawyers have helped many crash victims who were injured by distracted drivers - including those who were texting - and we've seen just how tragic these preventable accidents can be. Make sure you and your friends know the law - you can help save lives!
If you have questions about your rights after a car wreck, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys can help. We offer free consultations to injured victims and families throughout the state! Contact us today to discuss your case.