Mt. Pleasant moving closer towards hands-free driving ordinance

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A law banning the use of mobile devices while driving in Mount Pleasant is closer to becoming a reality following a committee meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The town's attorney and Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie are expected to deliver an ordinance in August which would ban motorists from using mobile devices while driving. Mayor Billy Swails made the ordinance request on Tuesday during the committee meeting.

Swails had said he wanted to give state lawmakers first crack at passing a law, but when they didn't, he decided the town should do it.

"I don't like texting and driving because a lot of people can't multi task," said Cassie Benfield. "They're going to end up wrecking somebody."

"I think it's about time," said Tootie Brigman."To be honest, I live in Myrtle Beach and I've been screaming for years to my legislators that they really need to stop this idiocy."

Swails says he's seen too many close calls involving drivers who text, especially young drivers.

"It's something that I think needs to be done," Swails said."We've waited two years now. It's time to do something, and we're going to do something."

Some say the town council has no business talking about a texting ban.

"I think it's a violation of personal liberties," Mark McQueary said."Of course, you should not text while you're driving. That's painfully obvious. But creating a law, that's just silly."

"I try not to take anybody's liberty away from them," Swails said."I think they can pull to the side of the road if it's that important and call somebody or text them then. We'll have some complaints about it, but also some attaboys on it. We need to do it".

It could mean time is running out to text while driving in town.

The mayor says it will be up to the police department and the town's legal staff to determine how to enforce the ban if it becomes law.

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