SC becomes 49th state to outlaw texting while driving

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A spokesperson for Gov. Nikki Haley said she signed a bill making it illegal for drivers to text while behind the wheel in South Carolina.

Haley's Communications Director Doug Mayer said she signed the bill on Monday after the bill was overwhelmingly supported by Senate and House members.

The bill gives all law enforcement officers in South Carolina the ability to pull over drivers on suspicion of texting while driving, much like pulling over a swerving car on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The law is effective immediately; however, drivers have a 180-day grace period, which means only warnings will be issued. Following the grace period, first-time offenders will be fined $25; second-time offenders will be ordered to pay $50.

The law bans drivers from using a wireless device to compose, send or read text-based message while driving in South Carolina.

Drivers are allowed to text when legally parked or stopped, are using a hands-free device, requesting emergency help, using a GPS system, using a digital dispatch system or are a public safety official while on the job.

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