Posted by the Charleston SC Car Accident Attorneys at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, call one of our attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your options. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help people injured in accidents in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek and across the South Carolina lowcountry.
Governor Nikki Haley signed a statewide texting-while-driving ban into law this past Monday. This law creates some continuity in an area that was starting to provide some confusion as local municipalities had passed their own versions of a texting-while-driving ban. This new South Carolina law will now supersede the local ordinances as they relate to texting-while-driving in motor vehicles. The new law states, "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." The law adds South Carolina to the list of 44 states that now prohibit texting-while-driving. This new law is aimed at increasing safety on South Carolina's roads. The following is some information about the new law.
A wireless electronic communication device has been defined as an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, a personal digital assistant, a text-messaging device, or a computer, which allows a person to wirelessly communicate with another person. Text based communication has been defined as a communication using text-based information, including, but not limited to, a text message, an SMS message, an instant message, or an electronic mail message.
The law does not apply to a person who is:
The law defines a "hands-free wireless electronic communication device" as an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, a personal digital assistant, a text-messaging device, or a computer, which allows a person to wirelessly communicate with another person without holding the device in either hand by utilizing an internal feature or function of the device, an attachment, or an additional device. A hands-free wireless electronic communication device may require the use of either hand to activate or deactivate an internal feature or function of the device.
The law states that for the first six months the law is in effect, only warnings will be issued. Once the first six months has passed, an officer may stop and issue a maximum of a $50.00 fine for a violation of this law when an officer has a clear and unobstructed view of a person who is using 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. Additionally, a law enforcement officer shall not, seize, search, view, or require the forfeiture of a wireless electronic communication device because of a violation of this law, search or request to search a motor vehicle, driver, or passenger in a motor vehicle, solely because of a violation of this law, or make a custodial arrest for a violation of this law, except upon a warrant issued for failure to appear in court when summoned or for failure to pay an imposed fine. Additionally, a violation of this new law will not be included on an offender's DMV record or criminal record, nor will it be reported to the offender's insurance carrier.