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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 state lawmakers seeking to give police the ability to stop and cite distracted driving offenders. "Very little is known about whether laws banning texting while driving have actually improved roadway safety," said researcher Alva Ferdinand of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was motivated by "considerable … [ More... ]

Distracted driving news

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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... ]

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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... ]

Money - dollar cost of crashes

Distraction’s toll: $175 billion a year

Distracted driving crashes cost the United States as much as $175 billion a year, according to a federal study. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says all highway crashes add up to $871 billion -- $277 billion a year in economic costs and $594 billion in "societal harm." Distracted driving crashes accounted for $46 billion (17 percent) of the … [ More... ]

California Assemblyman Jim Frazier

Assembly: Hike Calif. cell phone fine

The California Assembly wants to present Gov. Jerry Brown with a new plan to more than double fines for electronic distracted driving. The Assembly approved a bill from Assemblyman Jim Frazier (pictured) that seeks to hike the current fine for handheld cell phone use or texting from $20 to $50. Subsequent fines would be $100 with a point vs. the driver's … [ More... ]

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