Lawmakers propose hands-free driving bill

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Mount Pleasant, SC (WCBD) –  Since 2014, the only law in South Carolina regarding cell phone use while driving has been a ban on texting— a $25 fine if caught.

However, some lawmakers say texting while driving is too hard to prove because drivers who have been pulled over have to admit to texting while driving.

Instead, drivers can claim to be using the phone GPS, music streaming account, or talking on the phone. Thus, Lawmakers have proposed the Driving Under the Influence of an Electronic Device Bill or DUI-E bill that if passed will make any use of a cellphone while driving illegal.

The fine for breaking this law will be raised to $200.

 Last night, in Columbia, the DUI-E bill was brought before the committee on Education & Public Works.

Rep. Bill Taylor (R), District 86, says “the essence of the bill is real simple, put down the phone and drive.”

State representatives & victims of distracted driving were both present to testify in support of the bill. The committee listened carefully to each testimony of loss due to a driver who was under the influence of an electronic device.

A couple testifies about the loss of their daughter due to distracted driving. They say “I got a phone call of a random number. They said, your wife has been in an accident. What I didn’t hear was my daughter. I heard my wife talking, but I didn’t hear my daughter, because she was gone.”

Rep. Bill Taylor who proposed the bill says that he strongly believes in hands-free driving.

“This so-called smartphone is really a dumb phone. It makes us really dumb when we are driving. Just think about it… you see people all the time, gripping their wheel with this (cell phone) up in their face and they are focused on this, not the road ahead of them. That’s just stupid. We know that you are 23 times more likely to have an accident when you are looking at that device.”

The bill was unanimously passed by the house sub-committee. Lawmakers say that if it continues to get approval by the full committee, House, & Senate then the hands-free driving law could be in effect this year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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