Congress considers ban on texting while driving
A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate in July, 2009 aims to make text messaging while driving [TWD] illegal. Fourteen states, the District of Columbia and a number of cities already prohibit the practice with fines in the hundreds of dollars.
The ALERT Drivers Act will force the remaining states to pass laws banning TWD, or face a 25% cut in their annual highway funding from the federal government. ALERT stands for Avoiding Life Endangering and Reckless Texting.
A study by Car and Driver magazine found that TWD is more dangerous that driving drunk. The American Medical Association claims that TWD is a public health risk and increases the amount of time the driver’s eyes are off the road by 400%.
If Congress passes the ALERT Drivers Act, states will have two years to pass their own laws banning TWD, or lose federal money. In some states, TWD is a secondary offense. That means you can’t be pulled over by the police just for TWD – the officer has to have another reason to stop you. This is similar to seat belt laws.
What do you think about a law regulating texting? Is it necessary or is it a matter of common sense? The state of Maryland passed an anti-texting bill by a vote of 43 to 4. On the other hand, Arizona’s attempt to do the same in 2009 failed by a vote of 16 to 15. What do you think the objections are to prohibiting a practice that is obviously dangerous?
For more about states with TWD laws, see: http://askthejudge.info/no-mor-txting-while-drving/180/
A police department in Wales teamed up with some high school students to create a graphic video showing the consequences of TWD. Take a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ttNgZDZruI