Forty-seven states have laws that ban texting and driving in some way. Now, many states are going further with stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, sentencing enhancers, or outright bans on all handheld phone use in a moving car.
At least 17 state Legislatures have bills this year that would increase penalties for cell phone use behind the wheel. More may be coming as legislators add late-term bills to their dockets. Nearly half of the states, 23, are considering handheld bans to join the 16 states that have already outlawed phones in drivers’ hands.
Among them, Colorado’s proposed legislation this year would fine drivers $300 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $750 for the third offense. A proposal in Vermont would fine drivers at least $500, more if the violation happened in a school or work zone. South Carolina will call the offenses “DUI-E,” a signal of the severity of the infraction.
The annual observational study of California drivers found “manipulating a handheld device” was the most cited behavior — interpreted as texting & driving, but also including checking email and using GPS, ect...
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Cell phone use and texting are responsible for a significant proportion of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths..."
If you text and drive in Chicago, worry about crashing. But don't worry too much about getting ticketed. The Chicago police appear to have all but given up enforcing a city ordinance against distracted driving.
A man in a business suit talks on a flip phone, oblivious to who’s watching and perhaps to New Jersey’s 10-year-old law making it illegal to talk on a hand-held phone up to your ear while driving.
The number of distracted-driving tickets issued around the Washington area is on the rise, reflecting a national increase in distracted-driving enforcement. Twelve states joined Virginia, Maryland and the District last year in outlawing texting while driving. The latter two also have a ban on using hand-held devices while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving has been illegal throughout Hawaii for several years, thanks to bans on each of the islands. Now the state has outlawed text messaging and the use of handheld cell phones while driving, in a move that’s partly symbolic and mostly practical.