MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Mount Pleasant Town Council passed the first reading of a texting ban on Tuesday night.
The texting ban passed 6 to 3, while a hands-free ordinance banning the use of all electronic devices while driving failed.
"It's the commercial driver who has a handheld radio who is trying to get an address [that will be affected]," said Councilwoman Linda Page.
"It's problematic," said Councilman John Burn. "It's going to be tough for the police to enforce this; they would have to potentially subpoena phones."
The Mount Pleasant Council wants to make roads safer, but there is no simple solution.
"Is texting dangerous? Yes, but I believe there is an enforcement issue," said Page.
The proposed new texting ordinance prohibits looking at a text message, reading email, or sending pictures while driving. But, how would a police officer know that's exactly what you're doing?
"If you are riding down the road and glance at your lap, or you look down at the radio, or you drop something," said Page. "I could see many opportunities in driving that you really wouldn't know why someone was looking away."
Enforcement seems to be a gray area that council members are still working on.
On Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, there are several traffic cameras. Would those cameras also be used to enforce the hands-free or texting ban ordinances?
"Sure I suppose they could," answers Page. "That hasn't been a topic of our conversation."
Page said traffic cameras role in enforcement is something that could be further discussed in the council meeting.
"Do we direct the police to make this a first stop," asked Page. "Because [police officers] think someone is texting should that person be stopped?
Page said regardless of how the council voted this would be an ongoing issue.
"There is going to be continued discussion and hopefully on a state and national level," said Page.
Both the hands-free ordinance and texting while driving ban would carry a minimum fine of $50, and as much as $200 if you cause an accident while violating either of them.