This past Friday, texting drivers in the city of Mitchell, South Dakota may have been in for a rude awakening. That’s because enactment of a ban on texting at the wheel finally took place, which means that drivers in Mitchell can now face a fine of $150 if they get caught texting and driving. The city’s assistant police chief explained that a crash involving a serious injury or even a fatality would be grounds for the seizure of a cellphone for evidentiary purposes. Under the new law, drivers can’t even text at a stop light. The move came after South Dakota lawmakers opted not to pass a statewide ban on texting until at least 2014.
For more about the newly enacted ban, click here.
The Florida House and Senate have finally agreed to a ban on texting and driving, but the Governor has not as of yet affixed his signature to the bill. That could change this weekend, but as a new report shows, he has remained mum on how he feels about the matter. The closest he has come to an acknowledgement of the bill’s advisability is the admission that he worries about texting as a grandfather. A local defense attorney explains that Florida’s pending ban is relatively lax and that, as a secondary offense, it’s going to be hard for police to prove that a texting and driving offense occurred. Still, lawmakers believe the law is a good first step and hope the Governor will sign it.
For more information, follow this link.
The state of Connecticut may soon be taking an interesting approach to cutting down on texting and driving. Distracted driving, including texting and talking on a cellphone at the wheel, is already illegal within the state, but some feel that more could be done to dissuade drivers from engaging in such behavior. Lawmakers in the Transportation Committee of the General Assembly will thus consider a measure that would allow law enforcement entities to inform insurance companies of distracted driving citations. Drivers caught texting could then find themselves facing heightened insurance rates. The bill also makes current fines more stringent, doubling first time violations to $50 and increasing second and subsequent violations to $300 and $500, respectively.
Follow this link to learn more about the proposed law.
It may have been a long and winding road, and the ability to truly alter the behavior of citizens may still be up for debate, but after months and even years of fighting, Florida looks to be on the verge of passing its first ever ban on texting and driving.
Yesterday, the Senate gave its approval to the ban, with only one lawmaker voting against the bill. That approval means that the bill will now make its way to the Governor’s desk. Since the Governor’s own family is said to have recently experienced an automobile crash stemming from distracted driving, the thought is that his signature is all but assured.
The road to get here wasn’t easy, as proponents will be first to attest. The bill’s sponsor has been petitioning lawmakers to take up the matter for years, but those efforts were previously blocked by those who saw the ban as an affront to personal freedom. That changed this year when the bill was taken up by both the Senate and the House. The former first approved the matter weeks ago, but a House amendment preventing the seizure of cellphone records in all but crash-related circumstances meant that the Senate had to vote one last time by session’s end.
That time limit turned out not to matter, as the Senate was quick to approve the latest version of the ban. If indeed it’s signed by the Governor, texting and driving will become a secondary offense costing a driver $30 if he or she is caught.
The city of Flagstaff, Arizona has opted not to move forward with a ban on texting and driving at the moment, something that rankles a local newspaper. In an editorial, the staff writes that they believe that the City Council jumped the gun by voting the measure down before it even had a chance to be adequately explored. On Tuesday, city staff was asked to cease even working on a ban. This decision was made by the Council by a four to three margin. But as the local publication explains, such a ban, even if hard to enforce, would allow police more lenience in their ability to determine fault in the wake of an accident. And because the matter was recommended by city citizens on the transportation commission, they say the Council should have at least considered the matter.
Click here to learn more about the failed ban.
No sooner do we bring you word of the likelihood of a texting and driving ban in the state of Florida than one simple action place the entire matter in jeopardy. In the course of a day, proponents of the measure have gone from guarded optimism to outright worry.
That’s because the Florida House today elected to amend the bill that was to be voted upon. A Representative from Miami introduced the amendment over concerns that police would have too great of access to a driver’s cellphone records. The amendment therefore limited that access to only those situations where an injurious or fatal crash took place.
The bill now won’t be voted on by the House until at least tomorrow. But the big worry is that there now won’t be time for a final decision to be made by the time the current legislative session draws to a close. That’s because even though the Senate previously approved the bill unanimously, they will now have to vote anew thanks to the House amendment.
The Senate sponsor of the bill voiced suspicion over the timing of the amendment, seeing as how the matter has been on the docket for a couple weeks. Opponents of the amendment argued that it was simply unnecessary, as traffic tickets wouldn’t entail a subpoena. A first-time offender is, after all, only expected to pay $30.
The Florida government is in the midst of a debate over a texting and driving ban at the state level, but when asked about his stance on the issue, the Governor was noncommittal. Although he voiced his concern for the safety of individuals as a father and great-grandfather, he also refused to come out and say that he would sign a ban. However, he did acknowledge his eagerness to review the bill once it makes it to his desk. A Representative explained that he thought the matter could come to a positive vote as soon as today, but even he worried about the legislature’s propensity to debate matters that would seem to be a legal slam dunk.
To learn more, follow this link.
The city of Flagstaff, Arizona may soon implement a ban on texting and driving. The matter will be taken up tonight by the City Council after being proposed by Flagstaff’s Transportation Commission. The issue has been debated at length for three years. As it stands now, drivers would be prevented from texting at the wheel, although it would still be permissible to dial phone numbers and talk on a handheld cellphone. The measure does not impact other potentially hazardous activities such as eating or personal grooming. If caught texting, a driver could find themselves on the receiving end of a $100 ticket, a number that more than doubles when the texting violation leads to a crash.
For more about the potential ban, follow this link.
Texas is in the midst of considering a texting and driving ban, but a new report talks about how public safety isn’t the only thing at stake. The Senate sponsor of the bill has stressed the idea that the state won’t be eligible for a $17.5 million grant from the country’s Department of Transportation if they don’t pass more stringent laws on texting and driving. The Senate Transportation Committee debated the proposed ban, which has already cleared the House, two days ago. In addition to hearing about the financial impact this would have, members of the Committee also listened to families affected by distracted driving tell their harrowing stories.
To learn more, follow this link.
Recently, the Texas House approved a ban on texting while driving throughout the state, clearing the measure to be heard in front of the Senate. But that vote has been delayed thanks to members of the Senate Transportation Committee not yet electing to allow the measure to come in front of the entire legislative body. In a new report, proponents of the ban, including those who have lost loved ones to accidents stemming from distracted driving, seem unable to believe that Texas lags behind so many other states on the issue. A woman whose daughter provided the name of the proposed bill explains that texting isn’t just carried out by teens. A California woman also called for passage of the bill, as did a mother who explained that the texting driver responsible for her daughter’s death faced no punishment for the transgression.
Follow this link to learn more.