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COLUMBIA, S.C.-- South Carolina is now the 49th state to ban texting while driving.

A statewide ban on writing, sending or reading a text while driving took effect Monday when Gov. Nikki Haley signed the law. It is among dozens of new laws the Republican governor has signed in the last week.

The ban supersedes various city and county ordinances on texting, creating consistency across the state.

Legislators have for years resisted telling people what they can and can't do behind the wheel. But they said the increasing number of local ordinances caused too much confusion.

The law still allows people to text if they are legally stopped or using a hands-free device. It also specifically permits using GPS navigation.

A violation is not a crime. The maximum fine is $50.

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