Tenn. targets distracted school bus drivers

Tennessee "now has the strongest law in the nation" guarding against distracted school bus drivers. Gov. Bill Haslem on April 28 signed into law an act that cracks down on school bus drivers who text and use cell phones on the job. The legislation came in response to a horrific 2014 crash -- blamed on a texting bus driver -- that left two children and an assistant teacher dead in East Knoxville. The new law permanently bars offenders from driving school buses in Tennessee, and makes them subject to at least 30 days in jail and a minimum $1,000 fine. The law bars use of a variety of … [Read more...]

N.Y. considers cell phone ‘field tests’

New York legislation envisions roadside electronic scans for cell phones possessed by drivers involved in wrecks. "Field tests" under the proposed "Evan's Law" would seek to determine whether the cell phone was used at the time of the crash, but the scanning technology would not provide police with access to user content on the device. Israeli firm Cellebrite reportedly is developing the scanning technology, dubbed the "textalyzer." The distracted driving legislation, from Assembly member Felix Ortiz and state Sen. Terrence Murphy, calls for application of "implied consent" by all … [Read more...]

Wisconsin: Hang up in road-work zones

Wisconsin has outlawed use of handheld mobile phones in construction zones. The law comes in response to a trio of highway workers' deaths in 2015 and was requested by local county highway commissioners. The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, comes with fines ranging from $40 to $100. Wisconsin has a general texting & driving law, but does not prohibit use of cell phones by adult drivers. State Rep. Peter Barca tried to change that during the 2016 legislative session, but his handheld cell phone bill was ignored by the Republican-controlled Transportation Committee. "They're just not … [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...]

New distracted driving laws in Miss., N.H.

Texting while driving is now illegal in Mississippi, while New Hampshire motorists will have to have to put down their wireless devices or face a ticket. Mississippi is a latecomer to the texting & driving issue, being the 45th state to ban the distracted driving practice. Gov. Phil Bryant approved the law in mid-March. Mississippi drivers caught texting while behind the wheel are subject to fines beginning at $25, but they go up to $100 in summer 2016. The originating legislation -- House Bill 389 — also outlaws social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use. In an … [Read more...]