Enforcement of ban on texting while driving ranges from little to none

Among the state's largest cities in the Charleston area, enforcement of a two-year-old ban on texting while driving ranged from none in North Charleston to 109 tickets in Mount Pleasant. File/staff

Motorists over the next 30 days will start to notice signs and message boards throughout Charleston warning of the city’s new ordinance that banned texting while driving.

City Council passed the ordinance on Oct. 8. If convicted, violators could face a $262 fine, police said. The fine includes court costs.

Signs will be strategically posted at the city’s entrance points, police said. Officers will also disperse fliers detailing the ban.

According to police, exemptions include cars that are in a stationary and parked position, people simply talking on a phone while moving, responders working in the course of official duties, or someone trying to contact 911 or other emergency causes.

Charleston police cited the U.S. Department of Transportation as referring to distracted driving an epidemic on America’s roads.

The department reported in 2010 that 3,267 people died in wrecks involving a distracted driver. That number reportedly rose to 3,331 in 2011.

In a news release, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said accidents that are caused by texting can be easily prevented.

If one life is spared because of this campaign, he said, it will be worth it.