AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - Representative Bill Taylor for Aiken County has introduced legislation to increase the fine for texting and driving or DUI-E (Driving Under the Influence of an Electronic Device). But he says this is more than just a fine issue. This is about saving lives. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported almost 3,500 deaths in distracted driving related crashes. The study says drivers who are the most are risk are those under the age of 30.
Representative Bill Taylor has plans of increasing the texting and driving fine from $25 to $100 with a $300 fine for your second offense. He says although this change would increase the fine, the meaning behind it holds far more weight. "This is about killing people on the highways. Distracted driving has now become epidemic. People hold these things up, driving the steering wheel like this, you can't do that," says Representative Bill Taylor.
He says the feedback he has been getting, makes him feel confident that the people in his district will welcome the change. "People are dying upon this. So, I think we're at that tipping point. I've certainly heard from a lot of people and I believe my colleagues will hear from a lot of people too," says Taylor.
"Right now the law we have is unenforceable. It really is. Hardly any tickets are written for it because they have to prove you're texting. All you have to do say, 'No I was using it for my map,' and you're off. This way if you're driving down the road, and a police officer sees that phone, you're violating the hands-free law," says Taylor.
His introduction emphasizes the hands-free law and creates stiffer penalties. Understanding this won't stop people from entirely breaking the law 24/7, Representative Taylor believes this could decrease distracted driving fatality numbers. "I believe it to be the right thing. People still run stops signs, they still run stop lights and they still speed, but they know there's consequences. We've got to make driving with electronic and doing this instead of driving, we've got to make that at the same level as driving impaired with alcohol," says Taylor.
Representative Taylor says he hopes his push for this new legislation is passed to let residents know that elected officials and law enforcement are cracking down on reckless driving.