South Carolina Lawmakers Enhance New 'Hands-Free' Distracted Driving Bill
COLUMBIA, SC - South Carolina lawmakers have stated that they prepared to pass new legislation in 2021 that would outlaw the use of cell phones while driving. The South Carolina Senate Transportation Subcommittee revised Senate Bill 273 that is designed to "crackdown" on drivers who use their cell phones while driving.
South Carolina's "Hands-Free Act" criminalizes the use of a cell phone for nearly every reason. The Bill is similar to the Georgia "Hands-Free" law passed in 2018 and prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone at any time.
South Carolina's current law already makes texting and driving a crime.
Law enforcement officials believe that the state's $25 fine is too small and is nearly unenforceable since drivers could defend violating the law by stating they were using their phones to make calls or make phone calls, both legal under current laws.
South Carolina Senators agreed to strengthen the proposed bill's punishments for using a cell phone while driving. Drivers who violate the proposed bill would receive a fine of up to $150 for the first offense and up to $400 for the second offense. Drivers caught using their cell phones under the new Bill would be punished with up to two points on their driver's license for the first offense and four points for the second offense. The law would take effect three months after the bill passes. The law would have exceptions, including for drivers who are parked or lawfully stopped on a roadside.
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