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Senators Push Bills Banning Texting, Limiting Phone Near Schools

6:45 PM, Feb 6, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Lawmakers are considering proposals that could protect you when you are out on the roads.

A proposed bill would ban the use of handheld phones in an active school zone. That means no texting, playing games or talking while holding your phone.

It would also ban drivers on a permit or restricted license from using phones in the same ways while driving anywhere. The bill's sponsor, Senator Vincent Sheheen, says it is a way to protect those that are vulnerable and save lives.

"We know from studies the use of a hand for a device while you're driving is incredibly dangerous, and certainly when we're in a school zone or have a new driver, we should want to prohibit that," said the Kershaw County Democrat.

If the bill passes, violators could face up to 30 days in jail or a $500 fine. Lawmakers are also looking at a bill that would ban texting and driving on all South Carolina roads and highways.

Right now cities and counties across the state have their own rules about texting and driving. Senator Thomas Alexander says the bill would create a uniform standard.

He says passing the bill would spread awareness about the dangers of texting and driving and believes people would want to follow the law.

Violators could face a $25 fine.

"This is not designed to be a revenue generator, this is designed to have compliance and safety from that standpoint and bring awareness to the citizens of the importance of being focused on their driving while they're behind the wheel," said Thomas, an Oconee County Republican.

Other bills have unsuccessfully attempted to stop texting and driving in South Carolina.

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