The following Perspective is an expression of opinion by the Editorial Board at WIS, and presented by General Manager Donita Todd.
South Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation on something that's already banned in 41 other states: texting while driving. It's been introduced several times in the last decade, but state lawmakers have never quite been able to commit to a texting and driving ban.
According to AAA, South Carolina has some of the most dangerous highways in the nation and currently there are no state laws that allow troopers to stop distracted drivers. Numbers from the CDC show nine people die every day as a result of this type of distracted driving.
The clock is ticking for lawmakers to move the initiatives forward in the next few weeks, but many cities aren't waiting. Columbia, Charleston, Hilton Head and Greenville have already passed texting bans which may be helpful in urging passage of a statewide ban.
Recently, an amended version of the Senate bill was proposed by the House that would remove language banning only new teenage drivers from using a cell phone and call for a statewide ban on all drivers from texting while behind the wheel. There are good provisions in both versions, but hopefully a compromise can be reached which incorporates the House version's statewide ban and the Senate bill's increased fines. Lives depend on it.
That's my perspective. Let me hear from you. Write to Perspective at P.O. Box 367, Columbia, SC 29202, or send an email.