Texas governor OKs ban but targets local laws

The push for a texting ban in Texas finally has ended -- but the debate over distracted driving regulation in the Lone Star State seems sure to continue. Gov. Greg Abbott, left, signed the texting ban into law June 6, after some last-minute fears that he might not. The governor said, however, that he would push for special-session legislation pre-empting stronger local laws, primarily those that restrict use of handheld cell phones. "We don't need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas," Abbott said. Almost all communities in Texas have some form of … [Read more...]

Apple unveils Do Not Disturb for driving

Bowing to safety concerns and consumer sentiment, Apple has unveiled a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature for its upcoming iPhone operating system. "iPhone can now sense when you're driving and prevent you from being distracted by calls, text messages and notifications until later," Apple said. "People trying to reach you can automatically be notified that you're driving." The computer giant announced the iOS 11 feature at its Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 5. It also applies to iPads. "It's all about keeping your eyes on the road," Apple engineer Craig Federighi said … [Read more...]

Colorado hikes texting fines, limits enforcement

Colorado has graduated from being "one of the lowest-fining states" for texting & driving. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the plan from state Sen. Lois Court, left, that makes a significant increase in texting & driving penalties. First-time offenders now face penalties of $300 and 4 points vs. the driver's license. There's a catch, however. In adopting the tougher penalties, Colorado lawmakers decided to require police to witness some form of careless driving as a result of the text messaging. That amendment, from Sen. Owen Hill, watered down Court's original plan to what is … [Read more...]

Texas finally gets a texting & driving ban

The long drive toward a texting & driving ban in Texas has finally ended. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure into law June 6, after some last-minute fears that he might not. The governor said, however, that he would push for special-session legislation pre-empting stronger local laws. The ban goes into effect Sept. 1. Rep. Tom Craddick, left, carried the texting 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. The full Senate voted 23-8 to approve the plan May … [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...]