BEAUFORT

Ban on texting while driving passes first reading

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comAugust 29, 2012 

Beaufort City Council approved the first reading Tuesday of an ordinance to prohibit texting by all drivers, and to impose a cellphone ban for those younger than 18.

The proposal will now face a second and final reading, said city manager Scott Dadson.

Final approval could come in early September, but City Council does not want to enforce a ban until city staff and the Beaufort Police Department develop a public-awareness campaign, city officials said.

The ban was proposed by Councilman George O'Kelley Jr.

Violators would face fines that start at $50 and increase to $150 for repeat offenses, according to the ordinance.

O'Kelley's proposal is based on a bill for a statewide ban that passed the S.C. House of Representatives but failed in the state Senate this year.

Six cities and towns in South Carolina have banned texting while driving.

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