No texting admission, no ticket

washington state law officer

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is busy trying to push through a legislative rewrite of the state's outdated distracted driving law, which limits itself to texting while behind the wheel. The panel just released an online video that shows officers pulling over a pair of distracted drivers. Both drivers explain away their actions as something other than texting. One man says he was entering GPS data into a smartphone; another guy who was weaving repeatedly into a bike lane beats the ticket by saying he was checking his currency-trading updates. "Everything else you can do on your … [Read more...]

South Carolina writing texting tickets

south carolina state flag

South Carolina drivers who text while driving now can be stopped and cited for the distracted driving offense, as the new law's six-month warning period has elapsed. Tickets range from $25 (first offense) to $50 (subsequent). Distracted drivers will not see points vs. their licenses for infractions, meaning insurance rates will not increase for violators. Enforcement is primary, meaning police are empowered to stop and cite drivers who are texting for that reason alone. The South Carolina texting & driving law does not affect use of cell phones for making calls. Drivers will be able … [Read more...]

San Antonio OKs handheld cell phone ban

alamo in san antonio

San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas, has outlawed use of handheld cell phones, effective Jan. 1. The city joins Austin, whose ban on the wireless communications devices also goes into effect with the new year. The moves come as chances for enhanced statewide distracted driving laws took a blow with the Nov. 4 election. Governor-elect Greg Abbott shares the current governor's dislike of efforts to "micromanage" electronic communications device use by the state's adult drivers. San Antonio's ban comes with a fine of up to $200 after a 30-day grace period. The city plans an … [Read more...]

New N.Y. penalties, suspensions in effect

Andew Cuomo

New York drivers who text message or use handheld cell phones are looking at new maximum fines for the offenses. Young and new drivers, meanwhile, are flirting with a yearlong loss of their licenses for electronic distracted driving violations. "Driving habits are developed early, and we are sending a message that texting while driving is unsafe, unacceptable and downright dangerous," Gov. Andrew Cuomo (pictured) said in announcing the tougher distracted driving penalties and suspensions. "There have been far too many avoidable tragedies due to texting while driving, and with these new … [Read more...]

Wash. state panel: Rewrite cell phone laws

Washington flag for text message ban post

The state of Washington was an early leader in distracted driving laws, but a transportation panel says it's fallen behind the times. Washington's Traffic Safety Commission seeks a complete and unambiguous ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Washington state law "doesn't preclude you from looking at Facebook or the Internet as you're driving," said Darrin Grondel, director of the Traffic Safety Commission. The new legislation, expected to be introduced early in the 2015-16 session, would cover smartphone activities such as accessing social media sites and emailing. … [Read more...]