SC bill sets $45 texting-while-driving penalty

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - People convicted of texting and driving will have to pay $45 in penalties under legislation heading for debate by South Carolina lawmakers.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-3 on Tuesday to approve a measure that requires a $20 fine plus a $25 state trauma care fund surcharge if the person is convicted. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.

The fines can be higher after court and other surcharges are added.

Police have to clearly see what a driver is doing and they can't charge drivers who are dialing phones or looking up a phone number. They also won't be allowed to take a driver's phone or search cars because they think the driver is texting.

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