Maine governor axes handheld cell phone law

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine doesn't need more "social engineering" -- and has vetoed the Legislature's handheld cell phone ban. The Republican governor said legislators and police should instead focus on the state's existing laws regarding texting & driving and distracted driving. "We have a distracted driver law, we have a texting law -- if they're not working let's figure out why and make them work," LePage, left, said in announcing the veto on a morning talk-radio show. State Sen. Bill Diamond's LD 1089 still could have become law, but the House's vote of Aug. 2 did not reach the … [Read more...]

Rhode Island prohibits handheld cell phone use

Rhode Island is joining three of its New England neighbors by adopting a ban on handheld cell phone use. Gov. Gina Raimondo approved state Sen. Susan Sosnowski's distracted driving measure July 10 after it cleared the General Assembly at the end of June. Sosnowski, left, has been trying to get a handheld cell phone ban through the legislature for a decade. The cell phone law takes effect June 1, 2018. The law allows first-time violators a suspension of the $100 (maximum) fine if they show proof of acquiring a hands-free accessory. Serial offenses appear to draw only $100 … [Read more...]

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...]