South Carolina, home to some of the nation’s deadliest highways, is among a minority of states where texting while driving is allowed despite mounting evidence of its dangers.
Seven municipalities including Columbia have banned the practice, but for the most part the Palmetto State remains neutral toward those who send and receive electronic messages behind the wheel.
That could change as proposed legislation to criminalise texting while driving is considered in the General Assembly.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, said he ran a red light on the Septima Clark Parkway, commonly known as the Crosstown, while reading a text message.
“That’s when I pulled over to the side of the road and took and deep breath and said, ‘Lord have mercy, I could have killed somebody,’ ” he said.
Under a bill sponsored by Gilliard, a person convicted of first-offense texting and driving would be fined $250 or imprisoned 30 days, and have his driver’s license suspended for 30 days. A second offense conviction would bring a fine of $1,000 or 60 days in jail, suspension of a driver’s license for 60 days and two points on a driver’s license.
“I’ve seen people going 85 mph and texting. We have to do something,” he said.
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.