Illinois bans handheld cell phones

Rep. John D'Amico of Illinois distracted driving foe

Illinois drivers will have to put down their cell phones come Jan. 1. Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law an Illinois ban on use of handheld mobile devices while driving. The state already prohibits text messaging while driving. Fines range from $75 (first offense) to $150. "Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented," Quinn said after the signing. The governor's approval of Aug. 16, which was expected, is another victory in the distracted driving arena for state Rep. John D'Amico, longtime leader of the Transportation Committee … [Read more...]

N.Y. texting fines up to $400

New York governor vs. distracted drivers image

New York's fines for electronic distracted driving have increased, as part of the state's multi-pronged attack on drivers who text message and use handheld cell phones. Fines max out at $400 for serial offenders. The tougher fines were included in the 2013-14 state budget. New York's governor said the move would address "a frightening epidemic on our roadways," calling the increase in traffic fines "an important tool to punish and prevent this reckless behavior." They are in addition to the late May hike in DMV points against violators' licenses to five. Points can be reflected in … [Read more...]

Oregon Legislature OKs doubled fines

oregon state flag

Oregon lawmakers have voted to increase fines for texting and using handheld mobile phones while driving to as much as $500. The plan now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat who approved the expansion and toughening of the state's distracted driving law in 2011. Most violators would pay $250 plus fees for texting and cell phone convictions -- less than the new maximum. The current maximum fine, $250, would be doubled. The original Senate bill called for fines as high as $1,000. A rival plan in the House sought to increase the maximum fine to $2,000, but it was ignored. The … [Read more...]

W. Virginia gets primary enforcement

west virginia state police enforce cell phone law

West Virginia's yearlong adjustment period is over: Police can now stop and cite drivers who are talking on cell phones without hands-free attachments. New distracted driving laws also went into effect July 1 in Virginia, South Dakota and Hawaii. In West Virginia, "primary enforcement" now applies to both texting & driving and the use of handheld mobile phones while behind the wheel. Text messaging and driving has been subject to primary enforcement since last summer. That means police need no other reason to pull over a driver whom they observe texting. Handheld cell phone use … [Read more...]

N.J. stiffens distracted driver fines

State Sen. Richard Codey

New Jersey's offensive against distracted driving continues, as Gov. Chris Christie signed into law significant increases in fines for those who text & drive or use handheld cell phones. Sponsor state Sen. Richard Codey (pictured) greeted the news with tough talk: "Watch out New Jersey drivers, we're coming after you if you text and drive," he said. "If you do it we’re going to get you." The new fines are to begin late next summer. The first offense for texting or using a handheld mobile phone, currently $100, increases to as much as $400. Three-time offenders face fines up to $800, … [Read more...]