Both the South Carolina House and Senate have bills pending to ban texting while driving in our state. The House bill has received key approval and about 85% of House Representatives voted for a second reading. Once passed in the house, the bill will then move to the Senate, where another texting bill is also pending. If passed by the General Assembly, South Carolina would be the 20th state to ban texting while driving.
Charleston’s Bobby Harrell, who is the Speak of the House, state, “This bill represents a much-needed step in protecting our citizens and maintaining safe roadways that people across our state have uniformly supported…[The bill] will save lives.”
But some representatives are voting against the bill. Not because they have no issue with texting while driving, but because they feel that penalties imposed are too small. The fine for texting while driving is a meager $25, which is the same as the fine for not wearing a seat belt. David Umphlett, representative for Moncks Corner, believes, “All we [the house] did was pass a feel-good bill and place a $25 [price] on a human life.”
I agree with Umphlett. A $25 fine is too small to stop people from texting while driving. When you choose to not wear a seat belt, you are only risking your life. On the other hand, when you choose to text while you drive, you risk killing yourself and others.
What’s not surprising is that representatives do text while driving, too. Charleston representative Wendell Gilliard said that after he ran a red light when he was checking a text, he knew the state had to act. “I think it will save countless lives,” he said.
It is time for people to think about their lives and the lives of others and stop texting while they drive. The risks are too great. Now, if only the penalties for being texting while driving would be just as great, we would be getting somewhere.