A South Carolina House subcommittee has approved a bill banning drivers from any handheld use of a cell phone or electronic device, reports Insurance Journal.
Presently, texting while driving is illegal in the state, but it is challenging to enforce because officers can't always distinguish if the driver was making a call or texting. Moreover, texting only costs violators a $25 penalty.
If the new legislation passes, drivers can only talk on the phone with a hands-free device. Handheld use of a cell phone including texting, talking, emailing will bring with it a $200 fine, according to the journal.
Approximately 62 of the 1,015 traffic fatalities in South Carolina were in crashes caused by distracted driving, according to the state's Department of Public Safety.
To date, some 16 states have banned drivers from holding cellphones and 13 of them have reported at least a 16% decrease in roadway deaths after the ban was passed, reports Insurance Journal.
The House Education and Public Works Committee is presently reviewing the proposed South Carolina bill.