4 states OK distracted driving laws

pens for post on text messaging banDistracted driving legislation found favor with the governors of Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Kansas in recent days.

In Georgia, it was drama on deadline for the text messaging and cell phone bills approved by the Legislature. The governor threatened vetoes, citing enforcement issues. “None of this business is black and white,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

Safety advocates, lawmakers and students lobbied furiously in the final days of the legislative session for Perdue to sign the bills, which he did with no time to spare.

Georgia’s new distracted driving laws take effect July 1. Text messaging will be banned for all drivers. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones, regardless of whether a hands-free device is attached. Young drivers also are banned from using laptop computers and portable games. Violations will cost motorists $150.

No such problems in Connecticut, where Gov. Jodie Rell approved her own plan to toughen existing distracted driving laws. This ends the previous law’s policy of forgiveness for some first-time offenders.

Connecticut had already outlawed text messaging while driving, handheld cell phone use by adults and all cell phone use by teenage drivers. Fines for violations now increase to $100 (first offense), then $150 and $200 instead of the current $100. Also, the law’s wording specifically bans texting while driving, reportedly not clear before.

In Vermont, Gov. James Douglas signed into law a ban on text messaging and on cell phone use for drivers under 18. Fines start out at $100 for first offenders and then escalate to $250. The laws are effective immediately.

In Kansas, a ban on text messaging while driving has been signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson. The ban goes into effect Jan. 1.

On the local front, Clemson, S.C.; Missouri City, Texas; and Belpre, Ohio, are the latest cities to ban texting.


  1. Roma Roberts says:

    I would like to know if the accident rate declined since state cell phone laws were implemented? If there are any statistics where can I find them?

  2. Elissa Schee says:

    I am so sad that Florida is not doing anything about the laws on Distracted Driving. My daughter Frances Margay Schee was killed on her school bus September 23, 2008 while riding home from school when a fatigued truck driver talking on his cell phone rammed into the back of my daughters bus at 60 miles an hour. Margay was pinned under the seats and burned to death. What Law maker would like to trade seats with me and have their child killed in the manner Margay was. This crash was completely preventable. Come on Florida, wake up, speak up lets do something about this. Start writing your law makers and tell them that too many of our loved ones are being slaughtered on our road ways by cell phones. Please in memory of Margay and all other loved ones that have lost their lives over a call or text.
    Sincerely, Elissa Schee

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