Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Four New States Join Distracted Driving Movement

June 7th, 2010 No comments

Distracted driving legislation found favor with the governors of Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Kansas in recent days.

In Georgia, it was drama on deadline for the text messaging and cell phone bills approved by the Legislature. The governor threatened vetoes, citing enforcement issues. “None of this business is black and white,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

Safety advocates, lawmakers and students lobbied furiously in the final days of the legislative session for Perdue to sign the bills, which he did with no time to spare.

Georgia’s new distracted driving laws take effect July 1. Text messaging will be banned for all drivers. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones, regardless of whether a hands-free device is attached. Young drivers also are banned from using laptop computers and portable games. Violations will cost motorists $150.

No such problems in Connecticut, where Gov. Jodie Rell approved her own plan to toughen existing distracted driving laws. This ends the previous law’s policy of forgiveness for some first-time offenders.

Connecticut had already outlawed text messaging while driving, handheld cell phone use by adults and all cell phone use by teenage drivers. Fines for violations now increase to $100 (first offense), then $150 and $200 instead of the current $100. Also, the law’s wording specifically bans texting while driving, reportedly not clear before.

In Vermont, Gov. James Douglas signed into law a ban on text messaging and on cell phone use for drivers under 18. Fines start out at $100 for first offenders and then escalate to $250. The laws are effective immediately.

In Kansas, a ban on text messaging while driving has been signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson. The ban goes into effect Jan. 1.

On the local front, Clemson, S.C.; Missouri City, Texas; and Belpre, Ohio, are the latest cities to ban texting.


North America hands-free legislation: cell phone driving laws

August 11th, 2008 No comments

parrot-usa-legislationCurrent state cell phone driving law highlights include the following:

Handheld Cell Phone Bans: 5 states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have enacted cell phone laws prohibiting driving while talking on handheld cell phones.  With the exception of Washington State, these laws are all primary enforcement—an officer may ticket a driver for using a handheld cell phone while driving without any other traffic offense taking place.

Text Messaging: Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 7 states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington) and the District of Columbia.  In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 9 states (Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in 4 states (Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia).

Novice Drivers: 18 states and the District of Columbia restrict all cell phone use by novice drivers.

School Bus Drivers: In 17 states and the District of Columbia, school bus drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use when passengers are present, except for in emergencies.

Preemption Laws: The law in 6 states (Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) specifically authorizes a locality to ban cellphone use. Localities in other states may not need specific statutory authority to ban cellphones. Localities that have enacted restrictions on cellphone use include: Chicago, IL; Brookline, MA; Detroit, MI; Santa Fe, NM; Brooklyn, North Olmstead and Walton Hills, OH; Conshohocken, Lebanon and West Conshohocken, PA; and Waupaca County, WI.

Localities are prohibited from banning cellphone use in 8 states (Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah).

Some states, such as Utah and New Hampshire, treat cell phone use as a larger distracted driving issue.

Utah considers speaking on a cellphone to be an offense only if a driver is also committing some other moving violation (other than speeding).2

No state completely bans all types of cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all drivers.

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P – indicates Primary

S – indicates Secondary offense

1 – Dealt with as a distracted driving issue; New Hampshire enacted a comprehensive distracted driving law.

2 – Utah’s law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a hand-held cellphone or other activities not related to driving.

3 -  An officer in California can stop a person, regardless of age, holding a cellphone and talking or texting on it, but they may not use checkpoints to enforce the all cell ban for drivers younger than 18.

4 – During the 2008 legislative session, Louisiana passed 3 different cellphone laws addressing teen drivers. The governor signed all three. As of September 12, 2008, it is unclear whether both hand-held and hands-free phone use is prohibited, or whether only hand-held phone use is banned. All 3 laws prohibit text messaging. A 4th cell phone law prohibits cellphone use by school bus drivers.

5 – Effective 01/01/09

All of the information on this page has been compiled using these sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Governors Highway Safety Association ( sources obtained from: Sources: American Automobile Association (AAA), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and State Highway Safety Offices. Most recently reviewed February, 2008.) , National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  This summary is for general information only and is not intended as a substitute for checking with the state you are driving in to ensure accurate updates and full compliance with the law. For more information through links to websites containing or describing state legislation on cell phone restrictions while driving, click on “online resources.”