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Only 1 Citation Written in Charleston Despite New Texting and Driving Laws

Only 1 Citation Written in Charleston Despite New Texting and Driving Laws

| Feb 12, 2014

After roughly five months since the ban on texting and driving was passed in Mt. Pleasant, zero tickets have been written in violation of the new law, according to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Similarly in Charleston, where a texting ban was passed in early October, only one citation has been given, according to municipal court records. The new texting and driving ordinance prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices for texting, emailing, taking/sending photos, and entering GPS coordinates for navigation while driving.

How is it that only one ticket has been issued? Are all other residents simply abiding by the law and driving responsibly? Or are police officers failing to enforce it properly? Mt. Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson and law enforcement officers in other states believe the texting law is “overly intrusive and too difficult to enforce.” In order to establish a reasonable suspicion for stopping a vehicle, an officer must clearly see the driver using a cell phone to send or receive information. This can be difficult if drivers are hiding their cell phones in their laps or seats. Oftentimes, once taken to court, texting-while-driving cases require a subpoena to retrieve phone records or confiscate phones to prove a suspect’s guilt.

Some authorities give another explanation for why so few tickets have been given out to texting drivers. Police may not be properly enforcing the new law because the cities have not made enough effort to inform the public about the new ordinance by posting signs. When Charleston’s ban passed on October 8 th, the police department announced it would spend 30 days putting up signs and educating the public about the new texting-while-driving law, and then 30 days issuing warning tickets to drivers. Mt. Pleasant had a similar 30-day education and warning period. According to Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings, the city tried to design some signs with the Town of Mt. Pleasant, but ultimately decided to design their own sign, slowing the process down.

Charles Francis, public information officer for the Charleston Police Department states that the officers are enforcing the law, but are not specifically assigned to look for texting drivers while on patrol. Mt. Pleasant Police Captain Amy McCarthy also states the town’s texting ban is being enforced in the same way. How is it that only one person has been given a texting-while-driving ticket? “After the law was passed, we educated through signage and media and so forth, giving people the opportunity to comply,” says Capt. McCarthy.

Remember, texting while driving is now illegal in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina. If you are involved in an accident caused by a texting driver, contact an experienced car accident attorney for help. For a free consultation, you can call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers 24/7 to speak to a knowledgeable legal representative.

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