Craddick back, seeking Texas texting law

Citing the "most fundamental purpose of protecting lives," state Rep. Tom Craddick has refiled his texting & driving legislation in Texas. Craddick makes his fourth run at a distracted driving law in the state, whose lawmakers have proved unusually resistant despite widespread ordinances at the local level. "All Texans are feeling the pain of damage, injury or loss of life and are calling for action by the Texas Legislature to enact legislation that will prevent these irresponsible crashes, unnecessary tragedies, preventable injuries, and needless deaths," Craddick wrote upon filing his … [Read more...]

Mississippi OKs texting & driving law

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed legislation banning texting by all drivers. It goes into effect July 1. His state had beem among the few remaining in the U.S. without a strong texting & driving law. House Bill 389 -- given final approval by the Legislature on March 10 -- also would outlaw social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use by drivers. Fines would begin at $25 but go up to $100 in summer 2016. (Updated with governor signing.) The final Senate vote in favor of HB 389 was nearly unanimous, with three senators voting against the plan. The House … [Read more...]

Wash. state panel: Rewrite cell phone laws

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...]

Ohio’s primary enforcement push

Ohio legislators are being asked to rush through a toughening of the state's texting law before their two-year session ends in under two months. State Rep. Rex Damschroder, author of the state's 2013 texting law, seeks to upgrade the ban to primary enforcement, meaning police can stop and cite all drivers for that offense alone. Currently, only teen drivers are subject to primary enforcement. Secondary enforcement has been widely cited by Ohio law enforcement as a reason the texting law is ineffectual -- a common complaint in states with that limit on distracted driving laws. Police … [Read more...]

Texas texting shootout ready to resume

After a two-year pause, Texas is about to resume its legislative range war over texting and driving. Texas, which places no restrictions on adult drivers' use of personal electronics, does bar drivers under age 18 from using wireless communications devices. It is among the dwindling numbers of states without a texting ban affecting all motorists. In 2013, an outraged state Rep. Tom Craddick saw his second attempt at a Texas texting ban clear the House but fail to gain even a committee vote in the Senate. There wasn't much of a point, opponents said, since Texas Gov. Rock Perry already … [Read more...]