A driver on his phone behind the wheel. (File/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -
A spokesperson for Gov. Nikki Haley said she signed a bill making it illegal for drivers to text while behind the wheel in South Carolina.
Haley's Communications Director Doug Mayer said she signed the bill on Monday after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the ban earlier in June.
The law replaces previously passed bans by towns and counties across the state, including in Greenville.
According to a spokesperson for the governor's office, the law went into effect immediately but drivers have a 180-day grace period where only warnings will be issued.
The law bans drivers from using a wireless device to compose, send or read text-based message while driving in the state. Messages can be text and SMS messages, emails or instant messages.
Drivers are allowed to text when legally parked or stopped, are using a hands-free device, requesting emergency help, using a GPS system, using a digital dispatch system or are a public safety official while on the job.
The penalty for violating the law after the warning period ends is a $25 fine.
Haley has yet to release a statement regarding her decision to sign the bill into law and when asked to speak about it at an event at GE in Greenville on Tuesday, she declined.
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