South Carolina Senate alters bill banning texting while driving

There is no doubt that distracted driving is responsible for a high percentage of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale that occur on Florida roads. That is why a bill has been proposed in the state legislature that would limit the use of cellphones while driving.

The bill started off as a statewide ban on texting for drivers of all ages. However, yesterday a South Carolina Senate subcommittee drastically altered the bill, making it illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to text or use a hand-held cellphone while driving.

Additionally, the new bill would ban drivers with a beginner’s permit or a restricted license from using any type of cellphone while driving, including hands-free variations. The chairman of the subcommittee said the when a teen learns to drive, he or she shouldn’t be distracted by the presence of a cellphone.

“Kids trying to learn how to operate an automobile and operate a phone at the same time, which one do they want to focus on? I guarantee you it’s the texting,” he said.

It would also be illegal for drivers of any age to use a cellphone, whether hands-free or not, while driving though a school or work zone. This addition to the bill came in response to a call from a school resource officer who said that parents often talk on their cellphones and text while dropping off or picking up their children at school.

The original bill banning texting while driving passed the House, but has been hung up in the Senate. This is likely because some Senators felt that there were problems with the bill that passed the House.

“Right now, if you’re texting and you cause a car accident, the jury could hear about that in a lawsuit. But under what the House passed, a jury would never hear that you were texting and caused the accident,” one Senator said, without further explanation.

What do you think? Were the changes made by the Senate subcommittee needed?

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