Mississippi ‘careless’ with texting

Faced with more than a dozen bills seeking an end to texting & driving in Mississippi, lawmakers cut the field to two plans — neither packing much of a punch.

mississippi state flagThe Senate on Feb. 5 approved a plan to include text messaging while driving as a type of careless driving. The fine would start at $5, but without the usual fees connected with a traffic offense. The maximum fine would be $50. The bill also would outlaw use of social media web sites.

SB 2434 now advances to the House, which has long reluctant to support distracted driving legislation.

What appears to be the main texting & driving legislation, SB 2613, from Sen. Sally Doty, died without fanfare in the Highways and Transportation Committee. Advocates of distracted driving laws were hoping a change of sponsors would further the effort to enact a texting law, but it wasn’t to be.

State Sen. Billy Hudson, who filed unsuccessful distracted driving measures for the past five sessions, was aboard as a co-sponsor.

“I believe that having several senators with different interests and constituencies may prove to be effective this year,” Doty told Hands Free Info before the committee actions.

During debate on SB 2434, State Sen. Chris McDaniel raised the usual enforcement questions: “I don’t know how an officer will be able to determine whether a person is driving while texting,” said McDaniel, who has resisted previous efforts to ban text messaging while driving.

In the House, all legislation was killed off in committee except for HB 484. It would fine tune the existing teen-texting law in Mississippi. Current law bars drivers with novice (learner’s) licenses from texting. The bill would outlaw texting & driving for those under the age of 18.

HB 484 cleared the House Judiciary Committee, which has been called a “graveyard” for distracted driving bills.

The safety group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety lists Mississippi as one of the worst in the nation for vehicle laws.

Comments

  1. Al Cinamon says:

    The plain truth is that so called anti-texting laws don’t stop people from doing it. It just forces them to hide the device in their lap creating a greater hazard since they have to take their eyes completely off the road to text.

    The proof of this is that Tennessee has its troopers driving big rigs so that they can look down into the cars to catch texters. NY State Troopers are using SuVs for the same purpose. So whose kidding whom?

  2. Ben Levitan says:

    Talking on a cell phone is equivalent of being drunk at .08. Texting is about four times worse than that. So the State of Mississippi thinks that drunk driving is just a little careless?

    This has to stop. The cell phone companies have the ability to stop people from sending or receiving text messages if they are in motion. Why not order them to implement this?

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