SC hands free bill fails, but lawmakers vow to keep trying

CSRA News

On average, distracted driving kills 50 people each year in South Carolina, according to the department of public safety. State lawmakers are pushing for a hands free bill, but they are meeting resistance despite support from the Lieutenant Governor. 

“I’m all for that bill as a mom,” Lt. Goveror Pamela Evette said to a group in Aiken last week. 

The Lt. Governor commends the Aiken county delegation for their work to get hands free laws passed in the Palmetto State. 

“You have one in the senate, one in the house. Aiken should be proud. Maybe we will some momentum with it next year,” Lt. Gov. Evette says. 

Representative Bill Taylor filed a hands free bill that made it to the house floor, but died. He summarizes why the legislation was not successful. 

“A group a little trial lawyers submarined that bill,” Rep. Taylor said. “We were debating the bill and then away it went. They got it back to their committee and not my committee.”

Afterwards, Rep. Taylor turned to Senator Tom Young for help. Senator Young filed his own hands free bill in the senate and it was referred to the transportation committee lead by Senator Larry Grooms. 

“I have asked him to schedule it for hearings this summer or fall before we go back to session in January so at least it will have had one hearing before it goes back and he says he would work on that so we need to keep that on his radar,” Senator Young said as he looked at Rep. Taylor. 

Rep. Taylor says he will file another bill in the house. This time with speaker Jay Lucas’ support. 

“The minute it got submarined [Rep. Lucas] said let’s go at it again. We will change it a little bit. It will be more like the bill we filed in the senate with some real penalties in it. If you do it, it’s not just a slap on the wrist. We’re going to double down in all kinds of different ways on it. That’s what you have to do,” Rep. Taylor says. 

The Lt. Governor describes why she wants to see hands free laws passed in South Carolina. 

“If statistically we can find that making sure those phones get put down and their being a penalty to it keeps them safe, that’s what we all want. We all want to keep the people of our state safe,” Lt. Gov. Evette says. 

State lawmakers return to Columbia to finish out the legislative session on January 7th of 2020. 

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