Last week, the South Carolina legislature passed a measure that will save more lives than any other government action we’ll take this year, and that bill is now law: we have finally banned texting while driving in our state.
As the lead sponsor of the Senate bill and the Chairman of the Committee in the Senate, we have worked for years now to break through the logjam and create common-sense restrictions on the use of handheld devices while in the car. We’ve worked with partners in the private sector, law enforcement officials, and even Miss South Carolina to raise awareness on this issue and create a broad base of support.
With the support of this bipartisan coalition, we changed South Carolina for the better. The texting-while driving ban’s passage in this legislative session is a huge step forward for the people of South Carolina.
Right now, the use of handheld devices is one of the leading causes of accidents and highway deaths facing our state and nation. Many county and city governments have instituted their own bans and regulations, which can be confusing for drivers and residents in our state because of the different standards and methods of enforcement.
The new ban outlaws the use of handheld devices while driving anywhere in the state and clarifies the law for everyone. It sends a clear signal to drivers that distracted driving is a serious problem and will not be tolerated. And it allows parents, pedestrians, and all South Carolinians greater peace of mind knowing that the roads will be safer in our state.
The successful passage of the texting-while-driving ban proves that by working together, with great persistence and some common-sense, we can achieve things that will have great impact for the people of South Carolina. That's exactly what leadership and good government are all about.
By Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) and Senator Luke Rankin (R-Horry)
The writers are S.C. senators. Sheheen, who is also a Democratic candidate for governor, represents Kershaw County. Rankin represents Horry County.