Posts Tagged ‘fine’

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.


Nebraska and Kentucky ban texting

April 20th, 2010 No comments

kentucky-map taber_No_Cell_Phones_Allowednebraska-map

Welcome Kentucky and Nebraska to the club: They’re the 22nd and 23rd states to ban text messaging while driving.

The House and Senate approved Kentucky’s ban on texting while driving April 1. Two weeks later, the bill became law.

No drama there: Gov. Steve Beshear banned text messaging for state employees in 2009. He previously called the texting plan (HB 415) “a common-sense bill to protect all Kentucky drivers.”

Kentucky’s new distracted driving rules also outlaw the use of personal communications devices by motorists under the age of 18 with learner’s permits.

Rep. Tom Riner, sponsor of HB 415, called the passage “nothing short of a miracle.”

Fines are $25 (first offense) and then $50, plus court costs. Drivers will be issued warnings until Jan. 1.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed that state’s texting ban into law on April 13. It calls for secondary enforcement, which was a downgrade from the bill’s original intent.

Fines begin July 1. They are $200 for first offense; $300 for second; and $500 plus three points on the driver’s license for repeat violations.

Legislative Bill 945, authored by Sen. John Harms, Scottsbluff, cleared the full Legislature on April 8, in a 38-2-9 vote. Harms previously succeeded in prohibiting cell phone use and texting by drivers under 18.

Twenty-three states now have banned text messaging while driving. So far in 2010, Iowa and Wyoming also prohibited the practice.


Alberta Unveils Distracted Driving Law

April 20th, 2010 No comments


Alberta would no longer be “Canada’s traffic-safety donkey” under long-delayed legislation that would tackle distracted driving.

The province’s Tory government called the plan “some of the most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada.”

Bill 16, introduced April 14, would outlaw drivers’ use of handheld cell phones (hands-free OK), as well as PDAs and other handheld electronic communications devices. Texting would be included in forbidden activities.

Alberta’s distracted driving legislation includes a ban on “personal grooming” while driving. While frequently cited (by dubious lawmakers) during distracted driving debates in North America, this is one of the few measures to seriously propose such a ban.

“Drivers can be distracted behind the wheel for many reasons other than talking on their phone,” said MLA Art Johnston, who introduced the bill. “This legislation goes beyond a simple hand-held cellphone ban.”

Also prohibited for drivers would be non-commercial use of CB radios, writing, drawing, sketching and non-transportation-related video screen watching.

(Update) A day later, the government raised the possibility that enforcement might be secondary if the law is approved — meaning police need another reason to pull over drivers before issuing a citation.

Alberta had been criticized by safety groups and some legislators for dragging its feet on distracted driving legislation while other provinces took action.

The Calgary Sun editorialized in January: “The Stelmach government keeps dangling the carrot (of distracted driving laws), and then yanking it away. … Alberta … is set to become Canada’s traffic-safety donkey once again.” The paper cited fear of drops in popularity polls as one reason for the delays.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach cited a “busy agenda” as the reason no distracted driving legislation was proposed for 2009.

Strathcona County (east of capital Edmonton) has the province’s only law against driving while cell phoning and text messaging.

MLA Johnston, Calgary-Hays, is a former policeman who has been pushing for distracted driving for years. “I appreciate the great input of law enforcement and traffic safety stakeholders that has led to the introduction of this legislation,” he said. “This is a complex issue and I believe we have found a good balance between enforcement and safety.”


US & Canada cell phone legislation map

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

United States Cell Phone Legislation by State

Updated 1-18-10

Legislation map PPT 1-15-10_Page_1

Canada Cell Phone Legislation by Province

Legislation map PPT 1-15-10_Page_2

Legislation chart 1-18-10

Legislation by State

October 21st, 2009 No comments
Categories: State Legislation Tags: , ,

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.”