South Carolina passes statewide texting ban

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

Under the ban approved by the state House and Senate on Wednesday, drivers can still text on a handheld device if stopped at a red light or stop sign. Drivers would not receive penalty points, but would face fines starting at $25. However, GPS navigators and texting to contact emergency services would be permitted.

Police would issue warnings the first 180 days of the ban before citations are handed out.

Sponsoring Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden says the ban will save more lives than any other bill passed in years.

Once it's signed into law, South Carolina will be the 49th state to adopt a law on texting. Only Montana doesn't have a texting ban.