Making a Law is NOT Enough

Written By Frank Bentley

In South Carolina, it is illegal to text and drive. It is also illegal to drive while under the influence(DUI) of a substance. These two items are similar in that they both result in death and injury on our roadways. But they are extremely dissimilar in their punishments.

In South Carolina, if you are pulled over for texting the fine is $25 for one offense and $50 for every subsequent offense. That’s it. The consequence NEVER gets any worse than a $50 fine.

In South Carolina if you are pulled over for DUI there are lots repercussions:

1st Offense:

  • Loss of drivers license between 6 months and INDEFINITE
  • $400 fine
  • Possible 2-30 days in jail
  • Possible 48 hours in jail

2nd Offense:

  • INDEFINITE loss of drivers license
  • $2100-$5100 fine
  • Minimum 5 days in jail
  • Maximum 1 year in jail

3rd Offense:

  • INDEFINITE loss of drivers license
  • $3800-6300 fine
  • Minimum 60 days in jail
  • Maximum 3 years in jail

4th and subsequent Offense:

  • Fine determined by the court
  • Minimum 1 year in jail
  • Maximum 5 years in jail

The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) needed to be considered a DUI is 0.08% or higher, but that number goes to 0.02% if you are less than 21 years old. Basically we put a higher standard on those that we don’t believe should be drinking.

When I read these punishments I was amazed that we don’t classify these problems in the same way. Technology that allows for texting and driving has been around for much less time than drinking and driving has been, but if we are serious about changing the problem, maybe we should put some real penalties in place.

What do you think?

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