Texting tickets at highs in N.Y., California

Andew Cuomo

Ticketing for texting & driving has hit record highs in New York and California, based on numbers just released for 2014. New York reports texting & driving tickets increased 35 percent in 2014. In California, texting tickets also increased in 2014, roughly 10 percent, but the overall number of distracted driving citations slumped significantly in the Golden State, from 426,360 to 359,292. Most distracted driving tickets in California are for cell phone use, which was down again in 2014, with texting making up less than 10 percent of tickets written for talking & driving. When it … [Read more...]

April: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

california texting ban for teen drivers

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, entering its fifth year. It's an event without an official sponsor, but the NHTSA seems to be taking the lead with its "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign. Meanwhile, law agencies are taking the opportunity to crack down on distracted drivers. Hawaii, California and Connecticut are among the states warning motorists of distracted driving sweeps in April, backed in large part by federal funds. The National Safety Council once again took the occasion to promote the idea that hands-free use of electronic communications devices was no safer than … [Read more...]

Mississippi OKs texting & driving law

Mississippi flag for texting law article

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed legislation banning texting by all drivers. It goes into effect July 1. His state had beem among the few remaining in the U.S. without a strong texting & driving law. House Bill 389 -- given final approval by the Legislature on March 10 -- also would outlaw social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use by drivers. Fines would begin at $25 but go up to $100 in summer 2016. (Updated with governor signing.) The final Senate vote in favor of HB 389 was nearly unanimous, with three senators voting against the plan. The House … [Read more...]

75 percent of U.S. now on smartphones

google map on smartphone

Three out of four mobile phone users in the U.S. now has an Internet-connected smartphone, according to an industry study. That translates to about 182 million people in the U.S. with the advanced mobile phones -- with smartphone penetration at an all-time high of 75 percent, according to the comScore report. The quick market adoption of smartphones has been seen by safety experts as a factor in the widespread problem of electronic distracted driving, with the phones providing speedy access to email, instant messaging, Web browsing and social media access, as well as video and … [Read more...]

Judge: ‘Hands free’ means no hands. Period.

the Yukon flag

Wedging a cell phone between your shoulder and ear qualifies as hands-free driving -- at least in the eyes of the Yukon courts. The Canadian territory's distracted driving law is simply too mushy, a judge ruled. A Marsh Lake man fought his distracted driving ticket and won, saying that he was using the smartphone's speaker with both hands on the wheel. A Yukon Courts judge agreed with the low-fi approach to hands-free and dismissed the ticket Jan. 13. The judge said the government should clarify the territorial law and pointed to more specific legal wording used in British Columbia … [Read more...]