SC lawmakers want tougher penalties for drivers using cellphones

It happens all the time: You hear your cellphone buzz or want to switch up your Spotify playlist, so you reach for your cellphone and take your eyes off the road. 

"Have you ever driven and picked up your phone, took a call or texted?" FOX 46's Yolian Ortiz asked Fort Mill resident David Sisler. 

"Absolutely," Sisler said. 

Most of us don't leave home without our cellphones, but using them behind the wheel has led to distracted driving and deadly accidents.

"To be honest, having moved here, we were very surprised to find throughout South and North Carolina that we see police officers on their phones," Fort Mill Resident Linaida Cervantes said. 

That's why South Carolina has introduced the 'Driving under the Influence of Electronics' bill on Monday. It takes the current laws a step further stating if you have a phone in your hand while driving, you will be fined.

"I think it's appropriate and I think it's necessary with today's world. The kids are stuck with their phones in their faces," Sisler said.

"It’s not just about you. It's about the people out there and you are driving a 4,000 or 3,000 pound projectile that you have the ability to destroy someone else’s life," Robin Eckard said.

If you are caught with a cellphone in your hand while driving, you can potentially face a $100 fine.
A second offense, it's $300 and if you get caught a third time, you could potentially face jail time.

"If they make it stick," Sisler added.

Some are less hopeful these fines will actually put the brakes on this problem.

"They need to enforce that. Just like with the DUI laws now. I have two sons in law enforcement and they can pick somebody up who has four, five, six DUI convictions and they are still driving," Sisler said.

Others say, it's definitely heading in the right direction.

"I think it has to be a high fine in order to be able to send a clear message, that it will not be tolerated," Cervantes said.