Texas finally on way to texting & driving ban

The long drive toward a texting & driving ban in Texas appears to be nearing an end. The full Senate voted 23-8 to approve the plan May 19. The measure returned to the House for a final signoff, which came late May 21. House Bill 62 author Rep. Tom Craddick, left, has said Gov. Greg Abbott will sign the bill. Craddick carried the 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. Craddick saw his similar legislation approved by lawmakers in 2011, only to be vetoed by … [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...]

Brown OKs new Calif. distracted driving law

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a rewrite of the state's distracted driving laws. The act's sponsor, Assemblyman Bill Quirk, celebrated the overhaul of what he called the state's "archaic laws" regarding use of portable electronic devices while driving. Brown, left, who did not comment on the measure, had vetoed several efforts to increase punishments for electronic distracted driving. Quirk's legislation, AB 1785, did not increase penalties. "This bill targets the deadliest cause of distracted driving-related crashes, the use of an electronic device while driving," Quirk said … [Read more...]

Delaware doubles distracted fine

Delaware has doubled its fine for electronic distracted driving. Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation Aug. 31 that upped the base penalty for texting & driving and using handheld cell phones to $100. Serial offenders will pay between $200 and $300. "The increased penalties we're enacting today reflect the seriousness of this issue and reinforce the importance of keeping your eyes on the road," Markell said as he signed the act at the headquarters of AAA Mid-Atlantic, a supporter of the legislation. State Rep. Debra Hudson's legislation was OK'd by the House in mid-June and by the … [Read more...]

Calif. texting law update to governor

A rewrite of California's electronic distracted driving laws has cleared the Legislature and been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill from Assemblyman Bill Quirk, left, was designed to simplify and expand the state's distracted driving laws by recasting its ban on texting & driving. Update: The governor signed Quirk's measure into law Sept. 26. /update. AB 1785's wording, inspired by a court ruling, places the focus on use of the handheld electronic device itself, rather than the activity (such as text messaging). It is designed to get mobile devices out of drivers' … [Read more...]