A Call for Stronger Cell Phone Use Penalties for South Carolina Drivers

Lawmakers in South Carolina are calling for stronger penalties for drivers who use their cell phones while operating their vehicles. More and more drivers are putting not only themselves but also everyone else around them at risk when they use their cell phones while driving. 

There are simply too many distractions these days for drivers. When you add the distractions caused by a cell phone you are increasing the likelihood of an accident. Cell phone distractions include text messages, emails, calls, games, reading the news, changing music playlists, and more. 

Lawmakers announced a brand-new bill in April that targets drivers who use their cell phones while behind the wheel. The bill, known as the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Bill, will expand upon the current laws on the books that govern distracted driving. 

The bill, if voted into law, would make it illegal to have your cell phone in your hand while operating a vehicle. The fines begin at $100 for being caught the first time. A second offense brings a fine of $300. A third or subsequent offense could land you in jail for an undetermined amount of time. 

 You can change the life of another driver in mere moments if you drive distracted. With new laws being enacted you need to educate yourself so you know what is at stake when you get behind the wheel. 

Those in favor of the tougher law are still doubtful it will help. They said the new law will need to be enforced, much like DUI laws. One resident said that she has two sons who are police officers. They routinely arrest drivers for DUI who have three, four, five, and six DUI charges on their record but are still getting behind the wheel. 

Other proponents of the law think that the fines need to be much higher than $100 for a first offense and $300 for a second offense for it to make an impact on the habits of drivers. 

Dayne Phillips is a Richland County criminal defense attorney with Price Benowitz, LLP. He has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in both 2017 and 2018. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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