Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Distracted Driving Month wraps up today

As April's Distracted Driving Month wraps up today on the last day of the month, 19 South Carolina cities and towns have passed bans on distracted driving or texting while driving. This number continues to grow as the legislature works its way through three pending bills related to this issue. The Municipal Association's board voted in 2013 to support a statewide texting ban.

The Senate and House of Representatives have passed different versions of a statewide texting ban. The Senate voted 38 to 2 to pass S459 that prohibits a person with a beginner's permit from using a cell phone while driving. S459 is awaiting action in the House Education and Public Works committee. S416, a Senate version of a statewide distracted driving ban, is awaiting action on the Senate contested calendar. Meanwhile the House of Representatives passed H4386 that prohibits anyone from using a communication device to send or read texts or emails while driving.That bill now awaits action in the Senate Judiciary committee. 

An article in the latest issue of Uptown tells the story of several cities that have passed some type of distracted driving ordinance and recounts their experiences with publicizing and enforcing them. The City of Greenville's ordinance went into effect April 1.

Camden's ordinance has been in place since 2010, and the city recently released a YouTube video explaining the ban and the reasons why the council passed it. More details on what these and other cities are doing are in the May Uptown.

Stay tuned to the weekly legislative report to get updates on the progress of texting/distracted driving bills as the legislature moves toward its last weeks in session.

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