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...]

Oklahoma gets texting & driving ban

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...]

Texting tickets at highs in N.Y., California

Ticketing for texting & driving has hit record highs in New York and California, based on numbers just released for 2014. New York reports texting & driving tickets increased 35 percent in 2014. In California, texting tickets also increased in 2014, roughly 10 percent, but the overall number of distracted driving citations slumped significantly in the Golden State, from 426,360 to 359,292. Most distracted driving tickets in California are for cell phone use, which was down again in 2014, with texting making up less than 10 percent of tickets written for talking & driving. When it … [Read more...]