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"Hands free" ordinance could be coming to Mount Pleasant

On Tuesday, a town of Mount Pleasant committee reviewed an idea to create a "hands free" ordinance for the town.

If approved, the ordinance will ban drivers from using their phone for texting, emailing and other activities, unless it is hands free.

The number of accidents caused by distracted drivers has been increasing. Between February and June 2012, 240 accidents involved distracted drivers. During that same timeframe in 2013, that number jumped to 330.

"It's a big problem, especially down here," Hakim Grant said. "I've seen it first hand, basically people closest to me."

Grant's sister was typing an address into her cell phone's GPS, when she ran a red light and totaled her car.

"When you drive nowadays, you cannot just drive for yourself," he said. "You have to drive for everyone around you, so if you have something as simple as a phone distracting you, it could become a big problem."

During the committee meeting, there were concerns raised about how towns like Clemson enforce the ordinance. Clemson was the first town to enact a ban on texting back in February of 2010.

Mount Pleasant's head police officer said enforcement won't be an issue.

"We can enforce any law," Chief Carl Ritchie said. "There are some hurdles and some things to overcome, so obviously this hands free [ordinance] will make it easier to enforce."

But Grant disagrees.

"How can you monitor everybody," he said. "Maybe if you roll up to a traffic light and they see someone at the traffic light beside them, then maybe they can pull them over and let them know. But, as a cause of just watching for people texting and driving, it's going to be difficult."

Mayor Billy Swails asked the town's attorney to draft a hands free ordinance. The committee will review that ordinance in their next meeting in August. If approved, the ordinance will be discussed with all members of the town council. Members must vote on the bill twice before it becomes law.

If the hands free ordinance is approved both times, the town could begin enforcing the ban in September.

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV

 

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