Nine states flagged for texting laws

An annual survey of highway safety laws gigs nine states for having ineffective distracted driving laws. Six of those receive overall "red" ratings for anemic safety laws. A majority of the states gigged as falling "dangerously behind in adoption of key safety laws" were lacking texting and driving laws with full enforcement. Those "red" states are Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Florida. "People are needlessly dying on our streets and roads while state elected leaders are needlessly delaying enactment of lifesaving laws," group President Jacqueline Gillan … [Read more...]

Indiana license plate: ‘Put the Phone Down’

We've all seen the bumper stickers that urge motorists to get off the cell phone and drive. Now there's something a bit more official. Indiana now has a sponsored license plate with the bold message: "Put the Phone Down." The state gives $25 of the $40 cost to the Indiana Motor Truck Association, which vows to devote 100 percent of its share to distracted driving education programs such as the Save a Life Tour. The vanity plate was unveiled Jan. 14 by the truckers group, the office of the state attorney general, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the state DOT. The truckers group … [Read more...]

NTSB posts distraction as ‘Most Wanted’

The NTSB has unveiled its "Most Wanted List" of changes in 2016 to save lives and reduce transportation accidents. Not surprisingly, "deadly distractions" get major play. "It will take a cultural change for drivers to understand that their safety depends on disconnecting from deadly distractions," the National Transportation Safety Board says in its breakout on the issue. The NTSB, which mostly investigates public transportation crashes, says it found portable electronic device distraction as a cause or contributing factor in 11 accidents that killed 50 people and injured 259. In … [Read more...]

Vermont plan: Allow cell phone searches

Citing enforcement problems, a Vermont legislator seeks to give police the ability to search motorists' cell phone for evidence of distracted driving. The plan from state Rep. Martin LaLonde operates on the concept of "implied consent" to the searches by all of those who drive in Vermont. Drivers who refuse to hand over their mobile phones would face the same fines applied to those who use handheld cell phones or text message. LaLonde's plan runs counter to the trend in crafting distracted driving laws. Police searches or seizures of cell phones sometimes are prohibited by individual … [Read more...]

Survey: Distractions still on the rise

Drivers continue to reduce their use of handheld cell phones for talking, while text messaging is on the rise, according to a nationwide survey. The annual survey sponsored by State Farm also found year-to-year increases in usage of the Internet and, specifically, social network web sites. Among drivers 18-29, however, increases in electronic communications activity were found from 2014 to 2015 in cell phone talking, texting, GPS programming, the Internet and social media. "Younger age groups perceive many of these behaviors as less distracting and report being more likely to … [Read more...]