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Beaufort Texting and Driving Ban Is Mostly Warnings

Beaufort’s Texting and Driving Ban Focuses on Warning Drivers, Not Ticketing Them

texting and drivingLocal governments across the state of South Carolina have issued bans on texting and driving in the last year. One local government, Beaufort County, has had a texting and driving ban in place for about a year and a half, but the “ban” has focused on warning drivers, rather than ticketing them.

Law enforcement officers in the county have focused on educating drivers about the texting and driving ban, since there is no state law yet. Since the texting and driving ban was adopted in January 2013, only 11 citations against the distracted driving practice have been issued by the Beaufort Police Department. However, 36 warnings about texting and driving have been issued to drivers in order to educate those that drive through the county.

Cpl. Hope Able of the Beaufort Police Department said that it is often the officer’s discretion about whether to issue a ticket or a warning.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department has similar statistics: officers issued 30 warnings since September last year, when the texting and driving ban first passed local lawmakers. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the Sheriff’s Office has officially moved past the driver education phase of the ban, but officers are still able to decide whether they issue a warning or a ticket.

“People are being more covert,” Tanner said. “It is not as blatant as it was before. People are taking a good bit more care when they drive. They are using their cellphone less while driving, and the new laws have been a huge deterrent.”

When texting and driving bans do go fully into effect, the tickets will be very similar in many counties. The texting and driving bans in Bluffton, Port Royal, unincorporated Beaufort County, and on Hilton Head come with $100 fines for the first offense; $200 for the second; and $300 for all subsequent offenses. The town of Beaufort’s penalties are lower, at $50 for the first offense and $150 for each subsequent offense.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, February 25th, a Senate judiciary committee passed the latest attempt at a statewide texting and driving ban. The committee recommended, based on the measure, that South Carolinians should be subject to penalties and fines if caught texting and driving. The bill, S. 416, now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

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