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Bill aims to prevent drivers from handling cell phones, watching videos while behind the wheel

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Drivers could soon have to get used to getting behind the wheel without touching their electronic devices if a bill is signed into law.

Bill H 3355, or Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Device bill, aims to prevent drivers from handling their electronic devices at all while driving.

A similar bill was brought up by state legislators last year but died when the session was over. Representative Tim McGinnis said he was first elected into office when that bill started circulating, but really wants to focus on it this year.

"You take your eyes off the road, who knows what’s happening around you and it's too late or close to too late,” said McGinnis.

"I think it'd be an adjustment for sure but as long as I could still use all my voice texting and everything I think it would be fine or even GPS that would probably be the hardest thing is just using the GPS while driving,” said Christina Turnbull.

This year, McGinnis said this is a bill he really wants to study and work to get passed. He said checking your phone is such a common thing while driving and it can be just as deadly as drinking and driving.

“Just about everybody on this road back here Carolina Forest Boulevard, that I travel up and down several times every day I don’t know how many times somebody’s maybe started approaching my lane or I’ve seen them go off the road in the middle of the day and you look over and somebody’s looking down like that,” said McGinnis.

McGinnis said he wants to put a stigma on using devices while driving because of the danger it case pose.

If signed into law, the bill would prevent drivers from holding electronic devices, watching videos or movies, or reading, writing and sending anything text based. It does not, however, prohibit the use of earpieces or headsets for voice based communication.

“If they've driven around long enough and they pull up to a red light and you look around they will see people on their phones,” said Cpl. Sonny Collins with South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The bill is currently in the House and was sent to the Education and Public Works Committee at the beginning of January.

To view the bill in its full text, click here.

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