Revisions made to Charleston texting ban

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Charleston City Council joined Mount Pleasant earlier this week in approving a texting-and-driving ban.

The new ordinance puts a ban on any use of cellphones other than to make a call. Drivers can still use their phones as long as their cars are "stationary and parked," according to the ordinance.

There are exceptions for people dialing 911 and for emergency officials.

Offenders initially faced a $100 ticket, but that ticket has been increased to $262, which now includes court costs. For the next couple weeks, police officers will start a public education campaign with signs alerting drivers to the new texting ban. That will be followed by a 30-day period in which officers will write warnings for anyone they catch using their phones in an unapproved manner.

Police officials said that their officers will be trained on the new ordinance which states the ticketing officer has to have an unobstructed view of what the suspected offender is doing.

The new ordinance forbids the use of cellphones as an MP3 player, radio, or GPS navigation device while a person is driving. To change music or get directions, a driver has to pull over, park, and then handle his cellphone.

The ordinance goes a step beyond Mount Pleasant's ordinance, adding the use of any wheeled conveyance - bicycles, golf carts, skateboards, mopeds, rickshaws or horse-drawn carriages.

In Mount Pleasant, where the ordinance has been effect for a month, officials said they have issued one warning. There have been no tickets issued.

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