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Austin, Texas, capitol for texing vote

Texas texting shootout ready to resume

After a two-year pause, Texas is about to resume its legislative range war over texting and driving. Texas, which places no restrictions on adult drivers' use of personal electronics, does bar drivers under age 18 from using wireless communications devices. It is among the dwindling numbers of states without a texting ban affecting all motorists. In 2013, an outraged state Rep. Tom Craddick saw his second attempt at a Texas texting ban clear the House but fail to gain even a committee vote in the Senate. There wasn't much of a point, opponents said, since Texas Gov. Rock Perry already had vetoed a Craddick texting act two years before that -- saying he had no interest in a "government … [ More... ]

Distracted driving news

Milt Olin was an avid cyclist.

Distracted deputy won’t be prosecuted

A Southern California lawman won't face criminal charges despite killing a man while driving distracted, county prosecutors have decided. In Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles, Deputy Andrew Wood was electronically communicating with another deputy at the time he hit and killed bicyclist Milton Olin, and therefore couldn't be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter, … [ More... ]

texting & driving california sign

Study: Primary enforcement saves lives

"Primary enforcement" of distracted driving laws leads to lower death rates in states with texting laws, while secondary enforcement does not, according to a new study. Meanwhile, another research team found that California's handheld device failed to lower the number of vehicle crashes in its first six months. The study on primary enforcement should bolster … [ More... ]

state texting ban sign

4 state distracted driving law changes

The distracted driving landscape shifted in four states with the coming of the second half of 2014. In New Mexico and South Dakota, text messaging and driving has been banned for all drivers. In New Jersey, distracted drivers face penalties that go as high as $800 per offense. In Hawaii, fines go to a uniform $250, a significant bump for first offenders who … [ More... ]

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U.S. drivers: Get tough on texting

Three out of four U.S. drivers support tougher punishments for text messaging and driving, a recent poll suggests. There was little support for the current penalties, which vary widely and are for the most part established by states and municipalities. More than half of those surveyed in the National Safety Council poll backed the use of a point system that would … [ More... ]

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Cell phone search warrants needed

In a privacy ruling certain to affect distracted driving enforcement, the U.S. Supreme Court says police must have search warrants in order to examine the cell phones of those they arrest. The justices' cell phone ruling of June 25 said: "The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has … [ More... ]

Debbie Drewniak text messaging victim

Vermont gets handheld cell law

Gov. Peter Shumlin wasn't entirely convinced, but Debbie Drewniak had no doubts as Vermont's handheld cell phone bill was signed into law. Drewniak, pictured, whose life nearly was ended by a teen who was texting and driving, was awarded the pen that Shumlin used to sign the distracted driving measure into law. It goes into effect Oct. 1, with fines ranging from … [ More... ]

south carolina state flag

South Carolina texting ban OK’d

South Carolina's long and winding road to a universal texting & driving ban has reached an end. The governor signed off June 9 on a ban that affects all drivers -- but it brings a mere $25 fine. (This report updated June 10 with governor's signature.) Architects of the final plan said they preferred "a carrot" to "a stick" and felt most motorists would comply. … [ More... ]

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