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Texting ban

Posted: June 5, 2014 8:37 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2014 5:00 a.m.

At long last, the S.C. General Assembly seems poised to pass a bill that will ban texting while driving. The move is overdue; South Carolina is one of only three states in the union which don’t have such a law, but we suppose that late is better than never. House and Senate solons agreed earlier this week to a measure that will make texting while driving illegal. The law, if approved as expected, will take precedence over local laws passed by various communities, including one in Camden.

The law prohibits sending or receiving texts or e-mails anywhere on a public road, even when stopped or idling. That makes sense. Drivers would have to park or use a hands-free device to text or e-mail, other than exceptions for using a GPS or calling for emergency help. The penalties aren’t as severe as we would like -- only $25 per incident or no more than $50 for multiple violations; additionally, there would be a phase-in period of six months during which police could issue warnings but not tickets. Drivers who are ticketed would not be given penalty points on their licenses. It’s good that police officers can pull drivers off specifically for texting rather than only ticketing them if they stop them for a separate offense.

Perhaps as time goes by, penalties will become more severe. But this is a start, and we hope Palmetto State residents will wean themselves off the highly dangerous practice of messaging while motoring.

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