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Texting While Driving Illegal In 13 States

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 10:20 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Texting, Teen Safety, Teen Driving, Text Messaging, Texting Ban, Driving Safety

Texting bans are now in place in 13 states and the momentum is growing for a nationwide ban.  

Federal Ban Considered As Momentum Grows



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockphoto/ texting teens/ author: LeggNet


Last fall the conductor of a commuter train in the Los Angeles area ran a red signal while texting. He ran into an oncoming freight train, killing 25 aboard.  

In May, a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority accident sent nearly 50 to the hospital. The trolley operator said he was texting his girlfriend.

Russell and Kim Hurd lost their daughter Heather in a car accident last year, reports CBS News. Heather’s fiancé was injured and a woman in another vehicle was killed. The tractor-trailer driver in a 90,000 pound vehicle several cars behind her was texting and simply didn’t stop.

Russell Hurd testified before a Maryland Senate committee hearing about the need for a ban on text messaging while driving last February.

Not surprisingly, the incidence of “Driving While Texting” or DWT, is largely a function of age. For adults, one in seven are guilty of the dangerous habit. 

An estimated 20 percent of drivers are texting while behind the wheel, according to a Nationwide Insurance study.   Among young people, between the ages of 18 to 24, that number skyrockets to 66 percent. 

According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year-olds, so adding a device that requires the user to concentrate on a tiny screen while punching miniature keys, does nothing to improve that record. 

How to stop it

One school in South Florida puts teens in a simulator to illustrate the dangers of texting while driving. “Even if you take your eyes off the road for two seconds you could drive off the road or hit another car” one student observed. 

In an American Journal of Psychiatry report, Dr. Jerald J. Block says that like excessive gaming, or virtual sex, e-mail and texting may be part of a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder and a form of addiction.

The Laws

New Hampshire’s Senate has just sent a bill to the governor that bans texting and typing on a laptop while driving. The governor has not said he will sign it.   Violators would face a $100 fine. What would be allowed is entering a number or name in a cell phone to make a call. 

Tennessee has a bill pending before its governor that also bans texting while driving. 

Current law bans handheld cell phone in five states – California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.   These are primary enforcement laws, meaning an officer may write a ticket simply for using a handheld cell phone while driving with the exception of Washington State.

Additionally drivers in 21 states who are novice drivers are banned from using cell phones.  School bus drivers in 17 states and the District of Columbia are prohibited from using cell phones when passengers are present.

Text Messaging – Now banned in 13 states along with the District of Columbia.  10 states prohibit texting by novice drivers and only two states restrict school bus drivers from texting while driving. 

The Governors Highway Safety Association tracks the changes in all 50 states.  #


Posted by What's In Ur Box?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:43 PM EST

Saving Lives 1 Bracelet at a time. Check out our site at whatsinurbox.com!
Support the cause NO TEXTING AND DRIVING. These devices own us. We've all done it but awareness is the key to stopping. Wear a bracelet, it's a reminder. Spread the word. Imagine how many drivers are not concentrating on the road? It's scary! Let's all do our part!

Anonymous User
Posted by BillyFloyd
Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:01 AM EST

Agree with you completely, but:

"Last fall the conductor of a commuter train in the Los Angeles area ran a red signal while texting. He ran into an oncoming freight train, killing 25 aboard."

Not true and potentially libelous. The conductor, who survived the accident, was not texting, and did not run any signals. It was the ENGINEER who is alleged to have done so. The conductor should not be blamed for a colleague's apparent dereliction of duty, and deserves a retraction.

Posted by michael riemer
Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:57 AM EST

please check out LINK - a free product to help prevent distracted driving

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, June 11, 2009 5:07 PM EST

Thanks for your concern about accuracy.

The engineer was sending a text message 22 seconds before the collision. He did not survive. But the conductor did survive. He tested positive for marijuana and had sent 41 text messages that day.

Here is one of our original stories.


Thanks for helping us remain precise.

Anonymous User
Posted by Greyfox
Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:49 AM EST

Those who text or use their cell phones while driving should receive the same penalties as drivers who drink and drive illegally in all states,

Anonymous User
Posted by Greyfox
Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:49 AM EST

Those who text or use their cell phones while driving should receive the same penalties as drivers who drink and drive illegally in all states,

Anonymous User
Posted by Russell Hurd
Friday, July 03, 2009 9:38 AM EST

I am the father of Heather Hurd who was killed on January 3, 2008 by a tractor trailer driver who was texting when the collision occured.

40,000 of our love d ones are killed yearly on our nations highways, over 100 families per day know the pain that my family knows and deals with daily. This pain lasts forever.

Distracted driving, especially the use of hand held cell phones and texting cause a large number of fatalities per year. We must pass a federal ban on these dangerous practices immediately and make " Heathers Law a reality in all 50 states.


Russell Hurd

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 03, 2009 10:21 AM EST

Thank you so much Mr. Hurd for joining in the conversation. We are so sorry for your loss. Can we do a story about Heather's Law for the National News Desk to help you get the word out?!

Thank you for what you are doing - you will save lives!

Anonymous User
Posted by Russell Hurd
Friday, July 03, 2009 11:04 AM EST

My wife and I would be proud to have you do a story about our efforts to pass Heather's Law, a comprehensive ban on hand held cell phones and texting while driving. Please let us know how we can help.


Russell Hurd

Anonymous User
Posted by Kelli
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:52 PM EST

My daughters 21 year old best friend was just killed in a head on crash where a 43 year old female was texting while driving. I do believe she deserves jail time and I hope she has pain filled guilt for the rest of her life. I can honestly say that I personally do not nor never have texted while driving. And for those of you who say I keep it to a minimum, Tell that to a grieving family and friends. All it takes is 1!

Comments for this article are closed.

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