N.J. plan for roadside ‘textalyzer’ tests

A New Jersey lawmaker says police should be able to use "textalyzers" to test the cell phones of drivers involved in serious crashes. The distracted driving legislation from state Sen. Richard Codey is similar to a bill recently introduced in New York, to significant publicity. New Jersey drivers who refuse to hand over their cell phones would be subject to penalties in procedures similar to those used on suspected drunken drivers who refuse to have their breath tested. "Policymakers and road-safety experts are reaching back to tried-and-tested strategies to treat distracted driving … [Read more...]

Teen drivers who text often blame parents

Teenagers who text and drive aren't taking all of the blame for their distracted driving -- many point the finger at their parents. A new study of teen behaviors says 55 percent report texting their parents while behind the wheel in order to update them. Nearly 1 in 5 teens told the researchers that their parents expect a text response within a minute, and 25 percent said the folks wanted to hear back within five minutes. Not surprisingly, there appears to be a disconnect. Almost 6 in 10 parents told researchers they did not have expectations about immediate responses to their texts. … [Read more...]

Signing off on Oklahoma texting law

Gov. Mary Fallin signs Oklahoma's texting & driving legislation into law May 5. Members of the families of state Troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch stood by her side. Dees was killed in late January in a roadway incident officials linked to a distracted driver; Burch was seriously injured and could not attend due to his condition. The bill was named after the lawmen. Dees' father, a retired trooper, attended the signing ceremony along with the slain trooper's widow. Burch was represented by his wife. Oklahoma's new texting law goes into effect Nov. 1 with $100 fines. Read more about … [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...]

Irish texting & driving tab: $1,400

Those who text and drive in Ireland are out of luck. They're now facing some of the planet's toughest distracted driving penalties, with fines for first offenses topping out at 1,000 Euros -- about $1,400. The penalties, which took effect May 1, increase to a maximum €2,000 for a second offense. Three-time offenders are looking at €3,000 and a possible three months in jail (offenses within a year). Offenders will have to show up in court, instead of taking roadside penalty points. The changes also apply to those "accessing information" (Web sites) via smartphones. The new fines do not … [Read more...]