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Is DUI-E legislation the answer to distracted driving?

Most drivers are aware of the dangers of texting while driving, but many still engage in this risky practice.

One South Carolina lawmaker is looking to do more to prevent tragedies caused by distracted driving.

Representative Bill Taylor, a Republican from Aiken, is proposing legislation that would ban drivers from holding a phone in their hand while driving. The legislation, DUI-E (driving under the influence of an electronic device), bans drivers from typing, reading or sending a text message while driving.

If passed, DUI-E would also increase fines for texting while driving. Currently in South Carolina, a driver is fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for the second offense of texting while driving.

DUI-E would increase fines to $100 for the first offense and $300 for the second offense. A subsequent texting while driving offense would also result in a $300 fine and two points added to a driver's license. Once a driver has 12 points, his or her license is automatically suspended.

Under the proposed legislation, drivers would still be able to:

  • Answer phone calls via voice command, blue tooth or other hands-free device
  • Adjust GPS via voice command
  • Activate or deactivate a phone or wireless device via swipe - but the driver cannot have the device in his or her hand

While the proposed legislation could certainly help reduce the number of distracted driving-related accidents, it is the responsibility of each driver to avoid distractions while driving. Failure to do so puts all other motorists at risk.

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