Lawmakers on both sides, the House and the Senate, advanced two separate bills that would outlaw sending a text message or email while driving in South Carolina. Both bills are out of committee and advanced to full floor for debate. The Senate bill prohibits texting or emailing, while violators face a $25 fine. The House bill bans texting, emailing, and talking on a hand-held phone while driving, while violators face a $100 fine.
Berkeley Senator Paul Campbell explains his position for what’s in the bill could save lives: “There was a lady texting, had an accident, and was killed. That’s what we are trying to stop. We are trying to stop the needless accidents that happen when people aren’t paying attention while driving. People will make arguments ‘well, you shouldn’t be eating a hamburger, you shouldn’t be drinking a drink while driving.’ Really we probably ought to look at those things. But, what we are trying to address is an issue that we know that exists today, that people are texting while driving, that people are using the phone stuck to their ear while driving,” says Campbell.
Campbell says although there would be no texting while driving allowed under the bill up for debate, there is one way you can still text behind the wheel: “Unless you are stopped. Pull on the side of the road and do your texting. So, if you want to text somebody, pull on the side of the road, text away, get back in the automobile and drive,” says Campbell.
Campbell says in most case scenarios, the accidents and deaths that happen involving cell phone usage in a vehicle doesn’t just involve the person doing the texting.
“If the accident involved you by yourself that would be one thing, but it more than likely will involve somebody else. So, that’s why you have to restrict the texting and have the hands-free operation on cell phones,” says Campbell.
Senator Paul Campbell on the House version. Tuesday afternoon, the Senate passed its bill out of Full Judiciary Committee, it now heads to the full Senate.