Delaware doubles distracted fine

Delaware has doubled its fine for electronic distracted driving. Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation Aug. 31 that upped the base penalty for texting & driving and using handheld cell phones to $100. Serial offenders will pay between $200 and $300. "The increased penalties we're enacting today reflect the seriousness of this issue and reinforce the importance of keeping your eyes on the road," Markell said as he signed the act at the headquarters of AAA Mid-Atlantic, a supporter of the legislation. State Rep. Debra Hudson's legislation was OK'd by the House in mid-June and by the … [Read more...]

Calif. texting law update to governor

A rewrite of California's electronic distracted driving laws has cleared the Legislature and been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill from Assemblyman Bill Quirk, left, was designed to simplify and expand the state's distracted driving laws by recasting its ban on texting & driving. Update: The governor signed Quirk's measure into law Sept. 26. /update. AB 1785's wording, inspired by a court ruling, places the focus on use of the handheld electronic device itself, rather than the activity (such as text messaging). It is designed to get mobile devices out of drivers' … [Read more...]

Alaska rethinks texting & driving law

Alaska is reining in its texting & driving law to encourage police to actually enforce it. Following the lead of Anchorage, the state's largest city, the Legislature approved and sent to the governor a plan to make an electronic device offense a traffic violation instead of a class A misdemeanor, if no injury or death occurs. Alaska's distracted driving offenses currently range from class A misdemeanors (simple texting) to class A felonies (causing a death) with offenders subject to jury trials. Fines under the new scheme would top out at $500. A spokesman for state Sen. Kevin … [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...]