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SC lawmaker wants to make roads safer by raising texting and driving penalty to $100

One South Carolina lawmaker wants to make our roads safer. The current penalty in our state for texting and driving is $25. But if Representative Bill Taylor gets this bill passed, it will become four times that. (WCIV)

(WCIV) -- One South Carolina lawmaker wants to make our roads safer. The current penalty in our state for texting and driving is $25. But if Representative Bill Taylor gets this bill passed, it will become four times that.

Put down the phone and focus while driving, it's the hope for one South Carolina lawmaker. "We've got to do something to discourage people from driving while really distracted." Taylor said.

The mission Representative Bill Taylor hopes to accomplish with his new bill, to save more lives. "We're killing people"

It's called DUI-E, Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Device. "It really is the same, or worse offense, than drunk driving. So, let's call it what it is." Taylor added.

Taylor said more than 1000 people died in our state from impaired driving last year --that equals one death every nine hours on the roads. "In this law, if you have that phone raised up and he can see that, he or she can see that, you're violating the law."

Right now the penalty for texting and driving is a $25 ticket. All but one driver ABC News 4 spoke to didn't know what the fine was, but agreed it should be higher once they learned. "I think it's just as bad as driving drunk. Typically, when you're driving drunk, your mind is altered, you're not paying attention. When you're looking at your phone, you're doing something else when you're driving so in my opinion it's exactly the same thing." Danielle Holmes said.

Taylor said he understands that some people are using their phones for GPS purposes, "You can still use the GPS, just set it before hand, and if you have to reset it, get off the road and park for a bit."

If legislation is passed, the first offense would be a $100 fine, the second would be $300 and two points on your license, "So if you're a habitual texter and phone user and you can't get over, you could well lose your license if you're caught a number of times, five times and you're going to lose your license, have it suspended."

Taylor said he's received a lot of support from voters on the bill, but will have to wait until January to see if he'll gain support from his peers.

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