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States Saying ‘No’ to Texting

Today, reducing distracted driving seems to be a priority to legislators. Texting bans seem to be coming up in more and more US states. Recently Maine became the 33rd state to outlaw texting, but what you may not know is that Maine already had a ‘distracted driving’ law in place prior to the texting ban. In September 2011, the new law applies to texting while driving and violators can face $100 fines. The Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, stated “texting is addictive, and doing it while you are driving is very dangerous.” He further adds that this is a good way “to get people to recognize the seriousness of the activity.” The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, spoke of the bill signing and called it a “crucial step to improve safety and save lines on Maine roads.”

It is important that all drivers and passengers learn new traffic laws applicable to their state. You can find drivers safety courses by contacting your driver safety office in your own city. Various other states are following the texting ban. Nevada’s bill includes the texting provision, but goes further to limit devices used to talk with while driving. This ban would make Nevada the ninth state to prohibit use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

The Texas bill prohibits texting, instant messaging and emailing. Texas violators would face, in addition to fines, a license suspension, community supervision and completion of a driving safety course. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s law could make text messaging and talking on hand-held cell phones by drivers a primary offense, meaning drivers could be pulled over solely for texting.

In the last year, nearly a dozen states have acted to outlaw distracted driving. Recently, the governors of Indiana and North Dakota added their states to the list where texting is not permitted while driving. While Indiana’s law is in effect as of July 1, North Dakota’s law starts August 1. It is important for all drivers to be educated in regard to the most recent changes and to learn new traffic laws when applicable.

Texting has also been discussed at the federal level. One year ago, a federal rule banning texting while driving a commercial vehicle was issued. Additionally, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) agrees with the federal ban, but opposes the next step being taken by the FMCSA to restrict drivers’ use of hand-held cell phones.

If you want to find drivers safety courses in order to keep a traffic ticket off of your driving record, please contact your local traffic safety office.