The moving truck is loaded, your entire life in the back, and you head down the road. The chirp of your cell phone goes off, you reach for it and begin to read. The next thing you know, police sirens are in your rear view mirror. You didn’t even know what you were doing was illegal. The truth is many states have adopted laws against texting and driving. Luckily, in this scenario, it was only police lights in your rear view and not something worse. In 2010 when many states decided to take action, 18 % of injury crashes were due to distracted driving.
As technology progresses so do the distractions we have behind the wheel. How quickly we lose focus to read a text message, email, or social media mention; this has become second nature to many of us. In 2010 these distractions and the real safety issue they pose forced lawmakers into action.
- In 2010 alone, 12 states enacted bans on texting and driving.
- A total of 39 states currently have a ban on texting and driving for all drivers.
- 10 states prohibit all drivers from using hand held cell phones while driving.
- 35 states have bans on novice drivers using phones while driving.
- 5 states have no laws at all.
Every state handles texting and hand held phone use while driving differently. Many states institute bans on just teenagers while others do not allow bus drivers to use a phone at all while driving. Pennsylvania for example has a ban on just texting and driving whereas California it is against the law to use all forms of a handheld device while driving and South Dakota currently has no laws against distracted driving. Some states may not have a current law against distracted driving but allow cities to have their own. Arizona currently only has a law against bus drivers and cellphone use but the City of Phoenix has decided to take action by having a law against distracted driving both with penalties against being caught while texting and a greater penalty if it is the cause of an accident.
Of the states that have laws on the books against distracted driving, you will find the most common laws to be primary laws against novice or young drivers and an all ages ban on texting and driving. These distractions have proven to be a safety concern and led to the cause of accidents. Many states are becoming more strict on what they allow people to do behind the wheel. The next time I feel the urge to look at my phone while driving I will remember that my state has a law against it, does yours? Click Here to learn more about distracted driving laws by state.
Do you feel current restrictions on texting and driving are enough? Steps have been made against younger and bus drivers to not use phones at all while driving; is this something that should extend to all drivers?