Local lawmakers address texting and driving ban

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina has yet to successfully come up with a plan to curb texting while driving, and now it's being brought to the attention of state legislators representing portions of Horry County.

The issue of texting and driving was brought up in discussion by Horry County Councilman Carl Schwartzkoph during a joint delegation meeting on Monday morning. The meeting was attended by the state delegation, Horry County Council and Myrtle Beach City Council.

Schwartzkoph said he received complaints about the dangerous habit happening on Horry County roads, and while it's an issue some lawmakers in attendance said was on their radar, some said it's not a main priority for the legislative session.

Republican State Rep. Thad Viers says he fears if such a ban was put into place, it would be something that drivers would ignore several years down the road and would not be a priority for local law enforcement.

"I think it would be more likely to pass if it were applicable to just people under 18," he added. "But some people in Columbia want to be able to put four points on your license, give you a $300 fine and apply it to everyone. I'm not going to support that."

There's also a lot of gray area holding back a statewide texting ban, as pointed out by Republican State Rep. Nelson Hardwick. Hardwick questioned how the law could be enforced without invading your privacy and appropriate penalties.

"It's a problem, and I think a lot of people want to deal with it, but how we enforce it is much like we did with seatbelts. It's a difficult issue for some people with private rights and the right to do certain things," he said.

Viers added he believes education could be the key to cutting down on the problem -- by making young and old drivers more aware of the distracted driving habit and its consequences.

Hardwick says while the problem won't likely be immediately tackled by state lawmakers, there's the potential for the issue to be addressed in future legislative sessions.

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