Hands-free cellphone bill passes the South Carolina Senate
The South Carolina Senate gave key approval Wednesday to a bill banning anyone from holding a cellphone while driving.
The proposal faces one last routine vote before heading to the House, which has failed to pass a number of similar bills in recent years.
Supporters said the difference now is Bluetooth and other technology that makes it much easier to talk on a cellphone without holding the device. Georgia has a similar law in place along with about half the other states in the country.
The Senate bill passed 37-3 after several hours of debate. Drivers without Bluetooth could put the cellphone in a cradle and push a button to make or end a call or deal with a navigation app as long as they weren't holding the phone.
Any driver could hold their phone while parked or stopped.
Drivers caught holding a phone would face a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine and two points on their driving record for each additional offense.
Efforts to change the bill to exempt drivers with old flip-style phones or those without Bluetooth devices failed.
"We're trying to save lives in South Carolina," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Tom Young, a Republican from Aiken.