Texting while driving ban considered

November 6, 2012 by  

The Mt. Pleasant judicial, legal, and police council committee voted yesterday, November 5, to implement a ban on texting while driving while in the town, with a three-to-one vote in favor of the ban. The council will no doubt be using flyer printing and poster printing to rally public support for the ordinance which will be voted on by the full council on either November 13 or sometime in December.

Those who voted for the ordinance were Chris Nickels, Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, and Elton Carrier. The measure was opposed by the Mayor, Billy Swails.

Stokes-Marshall pointed out that the number of people who text while driving is continuing to increase, with the largest share being among young drivers. This practice endangers not only themselves but other drivers on the road as well.

The Mayor is in support of the concept but thinks it should be implemented across the state. A texting ban was passed in 2011 by the South Carolina House of Representatives but failed to do so in the Senate. Swails felt that the measure would pass in the Senate this year and be signed by the Governor, Nikki Haley. He preferred waiting for action by the Legislature. Nickels said he was in favor of a law in the town if the Legislature did not vote on the measure.

Police Chief Harry Sewell pointed out that 5 of 658 car accidents in Mt. Pleasant in 2011 were conclusively linked to usage of cell phones but the actual figure could be higher than that. He added that enforcing such a measure could be difficult unless officers who write tickets for distracted driving were able to confiscate the cell phone or subpoena the records.

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