Is Texting and Driving Illegal in South Carolina?

Columbia Injury Attorneys Explain The Law

[UPDATE: As of June 2014, South Carolina has passed a ban on texting while driving. This new law supersedes the local ordinances and creates consistency throughout the state.]

CSouth Carolina is one of only a few states in the nation without state laws banning texting while driving. Statewide legislature has attempted to pass several bans in the past without luck. However, in the absence of these legal measures, municipalities across the Palmetto state have taken action to pass their own bans in hopes of reducing the amount of car crashes and fatal car accidents associated with distracted driving.

The municipalities that have passed bans on texting and other cellphone-related distractions while driving include Beaufort, West Union, Mount Pleasant, Columbia, Sumter, Clemson and others. Recently, Charleston also began the process of approving a strict ban on texting while driving. However, in order for the texting-while-driving ban to have legal enforcement across the entire state without state legislation, the remaining municipalities will have to follow suit.

What Does the Charleston Texting Ban Cover?

The texting-while-driving ban in Charleston, which many expect will be formally adopted into law later this year, not only covers texting but also using a wide range of phone features while driving. As the law currently states, drivers in Charleston cannot perform the following actions on their phones while driving:

  • Texting
  • Scrolling through music
  • Using their GPS applications
  • Viewing, taking or sending photos

However, the law is not limited to a driver behind the wheel of a car. It also includes individuals operating a number of vehicle types and even some transportation methods that do not have motors. In Charleston and municipalities with similar texting-while-driving bans, anyone found in violation of the law while in control of a bus, bike, car, truck, golf cart, moped, horse carriage, skateboard or rickshaw may be subject to legal action.

However, dialing a number on a smart phone or holding a conversation on a cellphone will remain legal as well as other activities that a driver can perform hands-free. For example, individuals with voice-activated GPS applications on their cellphones may still be able to pull up locations while driving. It is important that you research your municipality’s laws regarding texting while driving to ensure that you are not in violation.

Has the Careless Action of Another Hurt You and Your Family?

The South Carolina State Department of Public Safety reported that from 2010 to 2012, the combined number of collisions attributed to distracted driving in the tri-county area of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester totals 10,514. Of these collisions, 2,599 resulted in injury and 20 were fatal.

The South Carolina injury lawyers of Proffitt & Cox, LLP understand the serious nature of the catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths that can occur when the distracted driving of another motorist affects you and your family. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident and suspect that the other driver may have been distracted or driving under the influence, contact experienced Columbia injury lawyers today by calling (803) 834-7097 or toll free at (877) 276-0533 to learn about your legal rights in a free consultation.

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