UPDATE: Governor Nikki Haley sign the texting ban bill into law today, June 10, 2014.

The South Carolina General Assembly has approved legislation that will make it illegal, throughout the state of South Carolina, to text while driving.  The legislation makes it permissible to text while idling at a traffic light.  It also prohibits drivers with learners or restricted licenses from using a mobile phone while driving.

One key provision of the legislation, which still requires the approval of the Governor, is that it preempts any local ordinances.  Effective April 1, 2014, the City of Greenville enacted a very restrictive ordinance prohibiting the use of any mobile device while driving or idling.  If approved by the Governor, this and other local ordinance will be nullified.

OSHA urges employers to prevent texting while driving
In OSHA’s April 15, 2014, issue of “Quick Takes,” its twice-monthly e-newsletter, it took the opportunity to remind employers that they have a responsibility to protect their workers by prohibiting texting while driving. Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.

For additional information on how to develop a company policy to minimize potential employer liability resulting from employee cell phone use while driving, see Home Builders Association’s Distracted Driving Guidance.