Greenville City Council proposes distracting driving ban - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville City Council proposes distracting driving ban

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Greenville City Council members listen to public during hearing. (Jan. 13, 2014/ FOX Carolina) Greenville City Council members listen to public during hearing. (Jan. 13, 2014/ FOX Carolina)

Just about everyone has a cell phone. People use them for directions, as cameras and to talk. However, some believe gearing up a conversation while driving is also a distraction.

"I think texting is probably more dangerous, but both can distract you," Michael Williamson said as he walked down Main Street Greenville with his phone in his hand.

"If there were a ban it could cut down on some distracted driving," Williamson said.

Greenville City Council members are proposing a distracted driving ban.

"The key to this is going to be public compliance," David Suddeth, mayor pro tem with Greenville City Council, said.

The council is reviewing a ban on handheld devices for talking, texting, sending emails and viewing websites while driving.

"Anytime you talk on the phone, whether you realize it or not, you are distracted," Barbara McMaster said.

She said she would support a ban and said she made a wrong turn while on her cell phone Monday afternoon.

"You lose an instantaneous response that you might need to save property, life, yourself," McMaster said.

However, during a public hearing at City Hall about the proposed ban, Jackson Batson, a man who lives in Taylors, wanted to know how the term "distractions" would be defined.

"Anything from children to radios to just talking to the person in your passenger seats - it's all distractions," Batson said.

And he said it could be difficult for Greenville police to fairly enforce a ban.

"And I would like to see if a ban decreased accidents," Batson said.

The council said the proposed ban also includes graduated fines. For example, you may be fined a maximum of $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second offense.

Council members said they first started talking about a proposed ban back in July 2012. Since then they said they've set up surveys and meetings to get input from the public. The council said research shows out of those who participated in the survey, 59 percent of them approve a ban.

Council members didn't take any action on the proposal Monday night and is expected to present a first reading in a couple of weeks.

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