South Carolina bans texting while driving

Washington – On June 9, South Carolina became the 44th state to ban texting while driving.

The law went into effect immediately and will make the practice a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officers can issue citations when they observe a person texting while driving. (Secondary enforcement allows officers to issue tickets for violations only after stopping the motorist for another offense.) Fines begin at $25.

Thirteen states prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states prohibit it for school bus drivers.

The National Safety Council estimates at least 26 percent of motor vehicle crashes in 2012 involved drivers talking and texting on cell phones. GHSA estimates that distractions, including cell phone use and texting, are associated with 15 to 25 percent of all crashes.