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What Are the Texting and Driving Laws in South Carolina?

In our modern world, mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily lives.

However, the convenience of staying connected all the time has also led to a concerning trend: texting and driving. Recognizing the dangers posed by distracted driving, many states have enacted laws to address this issue, including South Carolina.

In 2019, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported 18,936 total collisions where distracted driving contributed to the accident. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states: “Texting and driving is 6X more dangerous than driving drunk.”

Understanding the texting and driving laws in South Carolina is crucial for both residents and visitors to ensure safety on the road. Of specific concern is minimizing the chances of you becoming seriously hurt in a car crash where texting and driving caused it.

Texting in South Carolina Is Banned

On June 4, 2014, South Carolina passed a statewide ban (SC Code Section 56-5-3890) on texting while driving, stating:

“It is unlawful for a person to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State.”

South Carolina is the 49th state to adopt a law on texting. Only Montana doesn’t have a texting ban.

Text-based communications include text messages, emails, instant messages, and other similar forms of electronic communication. The ban applies to all drivers, regardless of their age or experience levels.

Primary Enforcement

One key aspect of South Carolina’s texting and driving laws is that they are primary enforcement laws.

This means that law enforcement officers can stop and ticket drivers solely for texting while driving, even if no other traffic violation has occurred. This primary enforcement provision underscores the seriousness with which the state views the issue of distracted driving and emphasizes the importance of compliance with the law.

Not Just Texting

South Carolina’s texting and driving laws also extend beyond just sending and receiving text messages.

The law prohibits any handheld use of a mobile device while driving, except in cases of emergencies. Activities such as making phone calls, checking social media, or browsing the internet on a handheld device are also prohibited while driving. Drivers must use hands-free technology if they need to use their mobile devices while on the road.

Financial Impact

Penalties for violating South Carolina’s texting and driving laws can vary depending on the circumstances. For a first offense, drivers may face a fine of up to $25. Subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to $50.

However, it’s important to note that these fines are just one aspect of the consequences of texting while driving. The greater risk lies in the potential for accidents, injuries, and even fatalities that can result from distracted driving.

In addition to fines, drivers who violate South Carolina’s texting and driving laws may also incur points on their driving records. Accumulating points can lead to increased insurance premiums and potential license suspension.

Therefore, the financial implications of texting while driving can extend far beyond the initial fine, making it even more crucial for drivers to prioritize safety on the road.

South Carolina’s texting and driving laws are part of broader efforts to combat distracted driving in the state. In recent years, lawmakers and safety advocates have worked to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and promote safer habits behind the wheel.

Educational campaigns, enforcement efforts, and community outreach initiatives aim to change attitudes and behaviors regarding mobile device use while driving. In fact, South Carolina has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, offering defensive driving courses and point reduction opportunities. There’s even a distracted driving simulator to help promote awareness, especially among younger drivers.

Understanding the texting and driving laws in South Carolina is essential for all drivers who travel on the state’s roads.

By prohibiting texting while driving and restricting handheld device use, South Carolina aims to reduce the risks associated with distracted driving and enhance overall road safety. Compliance with these laws helps drivers avoid fines and penalties and plays a crucial role in preventing accidents and protecting lives.

As technology continues to advance, it’s more important than ever for drivers to prioritize safe and focused driving habits whenever they’re behind the wheel. If someone failed to do so, causing you to have a crash that caused you to suffer significant injuries, reach out to The Solomon Law Group, where we’ll put you in contact with an attorney to apprise you of your car accident victims’ rights per South Carolina law.

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