When it comes to assuring texting and driving legislation gets passed, one need only to follow the money.
At least that’s the theory put forth by a new report that looks at the myriad financial incentives states have to put some type of texting and driving ban on the books. A measure called The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act has provided for states to receive a share of $17.5 million in grant money if they pass measures that seek to curtail distraction at the wheel.
However, to qualify for funds, not just any old texting ban will do. Florida, which recently passed a texting and driving ban, would not qualify for example. Their law makes texting a secondary offense, whereas a state hoping to secure funding must make texting a primary offense so that an officer can pull a person over just for texting. The Florida ban also exempts red light texting, which is another disqualification for funding.
Another financial incentive affects not states themselves, but drivers. When a person is cited for texting and driving as a primary offense, they could see their insurance premiums increase dramatically if that violation goes on their record. For first violations, 20% isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and subsequent violations could spike your rates by 40%.
So not only is texting dangerous, it’s becoming an increasingly more expensive distraction.