Greenville bans texting while driving

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Greenville has banned texting while driving.

City council voted Monday to make it illegal to use a hand-held device while driving. The ban taking effect April 1 also applies to vehicles stopped in traffic or at a stop sign.

The ordinance allows drivers to use hands-free devices if it is mounted in a holder.

Mayor Knox White said he decided to support the ban after listening to doctors who said they’ve seen an increase in accidents caused by distracted driving.

Opponents say the ban will cause more accidents as everyone tries to pull over to take a call.

Tom Barilovits said the ordinance might be unconstitutional.

It could hurt economic activity, infringe on people’s rights and give police too many reasons to stop motorists, he said.

Assistant city attorney Bob Coler said the ban is constitutional. The ordinance is modeled after two similar state laws that have been upheld in court, he said.

Officers will initially issue warning tickets. But tickets for distracted driving will carry fines of up to $100, plus court costs. Repeat offenders will get an additional $100 fine per incident.

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