Texas finally on way to texting & driving ban

The long drive toward a texting & driving ban in Texas appears to be nearing an end. The full Senate voted 23-8 to approve the plan May 19. The measure returned to the House for a final signoff, which came late May 21. House Bill 62 author Rep. Tom Craddick, left, has said Gov. Greg Abbott will sign the bill. Craddick carried the bill through the House, while Sen. Judith Zaffirini had the tougher task of pushing it through the Senate, which has been a graveyard for similar measures in past years. Craddick saw his similar legislation approved by lawmakers in 2011, only to be vetoed by … [Read more...]

Wash. state overhauls distracted driving law

Washington state drivers looking forward to another year and a half of relatively lax distracted driving laws are in for a surprise: Gov. Jay Inslee signed the "Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act" into law, as expected, but not before vetoing the Legislature's enactment date of Jan. 1, 2019. The tougher electronic distracted driving law now goes into effect in mid-July 2017. "We can't wait that long," Inslee said to cheers and applause at the bill signing. The new law doubles fines for repeated violations of texting or other uses of a handheld cell phone. First offenses … [Read more...]

Ariz. takes a baby step with texting law

Arizona, long one of the most resistant states to distracted driving laws, has adopted its first texting & driving law for the public. Come July 2018, teen drivers who are in the first six months of licensing will be barred from text messaging while driving. Gov. Doug Ducey, who signed the legislation April 27, said he wished the Legislature had gone further -- "banning texting while driving for all minors." There were, of course, the usual hopes for distracted driving laws in 2017 affecting adult drivers. But Arizona lawmakers have long fended off attempts to join the rest of the … [Read more...]

Iowa’s text message: primary enforcement

Iowa has adopted full enforcement for violations of its texting & driving ban, effective July 1. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the legislation April 17. He also OK'd a road-safety bill whose provisions include a legal presumption that handheld electronic device use while driving is reckless driving. Branstad also hoped for a handheld cell phone ban out of the legislative session, but it did not happen. While the texting & driving change does somewhat toughen the distracted driving laws, it mostly brings to state in line with most of the rest of the nation. It does remove Iowa from a … [Read more...]

GM offers $20 ‘endless entertainment’

Responding to the tremendous growth of vehicle-based Internet use, General Motors has added a $20 unlimited data plan to most of its vehicles. Owners of GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as of today have access to the $20-a-month prepaid plan. The move dramatizes the extent to which vehicles are being seen as living rooms on wheels. The automaker billed the hotspot service as providing "endless entertainment on the go." GM says Chevy owners gobbled up more than 4 million gigabytes of data last year. More than 3 million vehicles have access to the hotspot … [Read more...]