Canadians to distracted drivers: Enough

manitoba canada flag

Manitoba has joined Ontario in stiffening its fines for distracted drivers. Both provinces have punishments that rank among the toughest in North America. The Manitoba government on June 4 unveiled a new 5-demerit penalty vs. the driver's license. The existing $200 fine remains the same. Distracted drivers previously faced a 2-demerit assessment. The new penalty goes into effect July 1. "This is the highest level of demerit points in Canada for the use of a handheld device," said Justice Minister Gord Mackintosh, left. All Canadian provinces use demerits to punish distracted … [Read more...]

Texas texting & driving bill fails

State Rep. Tom Craddick of Texas lashes out

Texas backers of a statewide texting & driving law will have at least two more years to wait. State Rep. Tom Craddick, left, said any texting-related deaths in that period would be "on the back of those senators" who refused to bring his distracted driving legislation to the Senate floor. The distracted driving plan, he said, "will not become law and will not help prevent future injuries or loss of life." Craddick's House Bill 80 was approved by the House in a 102-40 vote March 25. The bill was delayed in Senate committee by an opponent, and then fell one vote short of reaching the … [Read more...]

Social media a major roadway distraction

teenager distracted by smartphone

Almost half of drivers distracted by their smartphones are busy using social media, a new survey suggests. Key activities self-reported by the drivers -- in addition to texting and using email -- include "surfing the Net," taking selfies and shooting videos. Seven in 10 people who own smartphones and use them daily engage in some form of smartphone activity while driving, a survey conducted for wireless carrier AT&T shows. Most of those activities are against the law, depending on the state. Facebook, of course, takes the top spot in social media, with a quarter of the smartphone … [Read more...]

Congressmen link cell phones, DOT grants

federal grant money

A trio of congressmen have filed federal legislation seeking to limit distracted driving grants to states that ban handheld cell phone use and adopt primary enforcement. U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida and Mark DeSaulnier of California introduced the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2015. The federal legislation would "amend the (U.S. Department of Transportation) process of granting money to states that have passed statutes to address distracted driving." While most states have texting & driving laws, only 14 have laws prohibiting the use of handheld cell … [Read more...]

Oklahoma gets texting & driving ban

signing texting and driving law in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's state Legislature has approved a texting & driving ban that gives police powers of full enforcement. The governor signed the distracted driving act into law May 5. The final vote of 85-7 came in the House on April 29. The House previously OK'd a ban with secondary enforcement, but went along with the Senate's upgrade. That means police would be able to stop and cite offenders for texting alone. The fine for all offenses would be $100. No points vs. the driver's license. The law would go into effect Nov. 1, 2015. Oklahoma remained one of the few remaining states without a … [Read more...]