Miss. texting law ambushed, killed

mississippi state flag

A last-minute legislative maneuver derailed a texting & driving ban headed for the desk of Mississippi governor, who had planned to sign it. As a result, Mississippi will remain one of the few states without a complete ban on text messaging while behind the wheel. Both houses of the Legislature approved texting & driving measures. A conference committee resolved differences over the amount of fines to be paid by offenders, and the House and Senate approved the legislation April 1. It was headed to the governor, who said he looked forward to signing the distracted driving legislation "in … [Read more...]

Iowa distracted driving bill dies

Flag of Iowa for texting law post

Iowa won't be seeing an upgrade of its texting & driving law as distracted driving legislation missed a key deadline in the House. The Senate signed off on state Sen. Tod Bowman's SF 2289 on March 11, but the House didn't take action on the plan before the so-called "funnel deadline" of March 14. Bowman blamed House Speaker Kraig Paulsen for not pushing through the distracted driving measure. It is possible but highly unlikely the bill would be resurrected in 2014. Bowman's bill, as amended, targeted most forms of wireless communications by drivers, but not use of cell phones. Iowa … [Read more...]

Utah bolsters distracted driving law

Sen. Steve Urquhart of Utah

Led by state Sen. Steve Urquhart, Utah has updated and enhanced its distracted driving law. The plan, given final approval by the governor April 1, adds a variety of electronic communication behaviors to the texting & driving already prohibited by state law. These include accessing the Internet; creating or viewing video; entering data data into a handheld wireless communications devices. Motorists are barred from "dialing" phone numbers, but they remain free to talk on cell phones. A Senate amendment allowed drivers to view and use GPS applications. Urquhart (pictured), a Republican, … [Read more...]

South Dakota texting ban passes

south dakota flag for cell phone law post

The House and Senate of South Dakota regrouped on the issue of texting & driving, and sent a plan to the governor's desk. The fine for text messaging while driving in South Dakota would be $100, but offenders would have to be engaged in another violation in order to be ticketed. The deal, reached by a second conference committee March 13, was basically the same as the Senate's original bill, which was rejected by the House. Both houses' legislation called for secondary enforcement. (this report updated March 13) Lawmakers battled over the issue of local control, with the House … [Read more...]

New Mexico texting ban now law

New Mexico flag

New Mexico has approved a ban on text messaging while driving, with the Legislature's plan signed by a receptive governor March 2. The texting law's effective date is July 1. (post updated March 2) The texting & driving legislation sailed through the Legislature, with only five lawmakers opposed in the House and one in the Senate. The law makes New Mexico the 42nd state to outlaw text messaging by all drivers. The state already has a ban on use of communications devices by driving students under age 18. It has no other cell phone laws. Fines will be $25 (first offense), then $50. … [Read more...]