2022 Texting and Driving Laws in South Carolina
Distracted driving laws are different in every state, and they are often updated, so it can be difficult to know what is actually against the law regarding distracted driving.
Is Texting and Driving Illegal in South Carolina?
Texting while driving has been illegal in South Carolina since June 2014.
The law specifically forbids reading, writing, and sending text-based communications from wireless devices while driving. This also includes other forms of messages, like emails. Additionally, other devices, such as tablets and laptops, are banned by this law as well.
What Are The Texting and Driving Rules in SC?
To put it simply, South Carolina law says that it is illegal to compose, send, or read any form text message using any device. This includes but is not limited to an email, a text message, an instant message, or a direct message.
Is It Okay To Text Someone While Stopped in Traffic or at a Light?
Under South Carolina state law, it is still illegal to text someone while stopped. This includes text messaging at a stoplight, traffic, or stop sign. The only time it is legal is if you are lawfully parked.
Is It Legal To “Text” Using A Hands-Free Device in South Carolina?
Yes. Texting and driving is legal as long as it is through a hands-free device—meaning you are not using your hands at all to compose the actual message of the text. By legal definition, a hands free device is defined as:
“An electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, a personal digital assistant, a text-messaging device, or a computer, which allows a person to wirelessly communicate with another person without holding the device in either hand by utilizing an internal feature or function of the device, an attachment, or an additional device. A hands-free wireless electronic communication device may require the use of either hand to activate or deactivate an internal feature or function of the device.”
You can use something like Siri or Alexa to compose the text verbally. However, you should refrain from using your hands to hold the device while doing so. Just remember the word “hands-free” means your hands should never be holding your device while in motion.
Other Situations In Which Texting While Driving Is Legal
As mentioned above, texting while driving is permissible when using a hands-free device or when the vehicle is at a stop.
There are also a few other exceptions, which include:
- When summoning emergency assistance
- When transmitting/receiving data as part of a digital dispatch system
- Anyone who classifies as a public safety official who is performing a part of their essential duties
- When using a GPS device for navigational purposes
What Happens If You Are Caught Texting and Driving?
If you are caught texting and driving in South Carolina, you will first be fined $25. However, no criminal charges will go on your record, and it will not affect your insurance rates.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, you are 90% more likely to have an accident while driving distracted. In 2019 alone, 3,142 people were killed because of a distracted driver.
If the Cost of Texting and Driving is So Low, Why Should You Care?
A police stop is the best possible outcome for the consequences of distracted driving. The implications of texting and driving could be far more severe.
If you get in an accident while texting and another person is killed in the accident, you can be charged with vehicular homicide should law enforcement find you were texting while driving. Not to mention the lifetime of guilt that you’ll be forced to bear for harming someone else.
It’s not necessarily that you should be concerned about paying a $25 fine, but that you should have concern for the lives of everyone sharing the road around you. Texting while driving is a considerable risk that you are taking every time you choose to look down at your phone.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured Because Of A Distracted Driver?
If you or someone you know has been injured by the reckless actions of a distracted driver, seek the support of a personal injury lawyer. A seasoned lawyer will be able to offer the legal support you deserve for the hardships you have endured.