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Charleston texting ordinance could include bikers and skateboarders

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:


The City of Charleston is the latest city to begin discussing a possible ban on texting while driving. Areas like Mt. Pleasant, James Island and Charleston County have all recently discussed a ban.

One Charleston City Councilman wants to not only expand the ban to a hands-free ordinance, but he also wants it to include all vehicles on the road.

"I want to make sure it applies to all vehicles that are legally operating on the road: cars, bicycles, skateboard and golf carts," Councilman Michael Seekings said. "I think that will be something we debate [Monday] night. It's not on the ordinance now, but I certainly hope it will be added."

Others in downtown Charleston agree with Seekings that distracted driving affects more than just those who operate cars.

"I see people getting into accidents every day, and not just in cars," Kathleen Heim said. "I see people texting on bicycles and running into cars. I think we do need to have some sort of policy established."

Seekings said that the ordinance is currently in draft form. As it stands now, the ordinance calls for a $100 fine if a driver is caught texting behind the wheel. Charleston City police will also have the ability to subpoena cell phone records to see when text messages were sent.

The councilman said it only makes sense to expand the ban to cover all drivers of all vehicles if the goal is to make Charleston streets safer.

"The philosophy behind whatever is coming is to make the streets safe, and the reason they're not safe is texting is distracting. So, if it's distracting while you're driving, it's distracting if you're biking, on your golf cart, and it's distracting on a skateboard." Seekings said.

There is a public hearing planned for Monday night. Those who want to have their opinions heard are invited to attend the hearing at 5 p.m. at Charleston City Hall.

 

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