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...]

Mississippi’s Facebook face-plant

Mississippi appears ready to leave the ranks of states with toothless distracted driving laws, by finally approving a texting & driving bill that includes all motorists, regardless of age. Great news. Perhaps Mississippi will get off that rogue's roundup of states with the lamest traffic laws, prepared annually by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group. But it'll go kicking and screaming from our "dumb-and-dumber states" list. The plan sent to the governor March 10 includes a curious ban on handheld use of "social networking sites" -- meaning only those web sites on which users … [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...]

New tech, new era of driver distractions

Lawmakers trying to come to grips with the technology behind distracted driving won't find the going any easier when they get back to work in 2015. Police across the nation already complain that state distracted driving laws are ineffectual in the era of smartphones -- devices that are essentially handheld personal computers. Many state laws were written when cell phone calls were the main concern -- and even text messaging was a relatively new phenomenon. Among the high-tech products distracting drivers -- and challenging lawmakers in 2015: Google Glass: Wearable technology that … [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...]