Proposal would ban talking on phone while driving in South Carolina

Proposal would ban talking on phone while driving in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It soon could be illegal in South Carolina to hold your cell phone and talk on it while driving.

The proposal from a state lawmaker also would make violators pay fines that increase with each offense.

Aiken State Representative Bill Taylor's bill is called "driving under the influence of an electronic device" or DUI-E.

"You don't need cell phones while you drive your car because it is a distraction," said Eunimaria Covarrubias of North Charleston.

"Sounds ridiculous. That's how I get my maps," said Ford Witherby of West Ashley.

"Distracted driving now is almost if not worse than impaired driving," said Hanahan Police Deputy Chief Michael Fowler.

Fowler supports making it illegal to drive and talk on the phone.

He believes it will be easier to enforce than the current law that only bans texting while driving.

"Unless you see them texting or you stop them and they admit to texting, it's a very hard case to prove," Fowler said.

Texting while driving carries a $25 fine.

Under this new proposal, talking on the phone while driving calls for a $100 fine for a first offense.

if a driver is ticketed again it would cost $300 plus two points on a driver's license.

It also could mean higher insurance costs.

"You've got to raise awareness. People have got to know first of all that it's dangerous. Second of all why it's dangerous and third of all this is the penalty if you choose to do it," Fowler said.

The bill also would ban texting while driving but allow talking through a hands-free device or a wireless system in the car.

Under Rep. Taylor's proposal, drivers cannot be arrested for violations and their phones will not be taken from them.

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