Three Years Later : Does Texting Ban Actually Work? -

Three Years Later : Does Texting Ban Actually Work?

By Gordon Dill

It's perhaps the strictest place in the Upstate in terms of cracking down on texting drivers.

It's a primary offense, you can be pulled over by cops who suspect your phone is distrating you behind the wheel.  The ticket, after court costs, is more than $200.

In Clemson, the word is out.

Students unanimously said they knew the law.  But does it change their behavior?

"I just text on my steering wheel and drive," said one student.

City police say they've written fewer than 10 tickets in the three years since city council passed the ban.  7 On Your Side watched drivers check their phones while passing through a busy intersection just a black away from the poilice station.

"It is hard to enforce. People in the city are aware in Clemson that's it's illegal so, naturally, they try to disguise it as well as they can," said police chief Jimmy Dixon.

Dixon said the ordinance is working.  He said he's seen people check their phones at stop lights but discard them when the light turns green.

Dixon said the tough fines may be discouraging people from the habit, which would account for the low number of tickets written.

"The behavior that you've got to change is the attention that the driver has got to pay to driving the car and the only way to do it is to have a statute or have an ordinance that has got some teeth to it" Dixon said.

A statewide ban was discussed in the state legislature this year but it appears to be headed in reverse.  After moving to the state House it was sent back to committee without a vote.

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