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Drivers of large vehicles are the latest to feel the wrath of the anti-texting movement

Driving is a privilege that most Americans take for granted. We drive to work, we drive to see family, and we run errands on the weekend to Home Depot or fend off soccer moms in their minivans at Target. However, technology continues to invade not only our lives, but also our vehicles, which is making the normally mundane act of driving more challenging.

From GPS units to cell phones to SYNC in-car infotainment systems, U.S. drivers have found new ways to distract themselves while driving thanks to technology (not to mention other favorites such as applying makeup, eating, reading the newspaper, etc.). Texting while driving is the latest craze to infect drivers and states around the country are swiftly implementing laws to make such activities illegal. Texting is already banned in 19 states, and 23 states are currently prepping their own laws to tackle the problem.

"Legislators are looking to see if it (texting) is enough of a safety issue that they need to intervene," said Anne Teigen told the USA Today. Teigen is a transportation specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They often get involved because there's a high-profile accident that had to do with texting. Also, because everybody has a cellphone now."

While states are currently going it alone in drafting "no texting while driving" laws, there are a few nationwide texting bans that drivers should heed. President Obama issued an executive order at the close of 2009 banning all federal workers -- rather, those on the job -- from texting while driving. The ban affects roughly four million federal workers.

Now a new, federal ban is coming down from the U.S. government. The latest nationwide texting ban applies to drivers of big rigs and buses. "We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."

Drivers that choose not to abide by the new law face a fine of $2,750.

The bans from both the states and the U.S. government come on the heels of numerous studies which point out the dangerous consequences of texting and driving. A study by the University of Utah showed that drivers that text behind the wheels are six times more likely to be involved in a collision. The National Security Council notes that roughly 200,000 accidents are caused each drivers who text behind the wheel.

However, it's wishful thinking to believe that nationwide texting bans are going to stop people from partaking in America's favorite electronic pastime. Reuters has previously reported that teens aren't persuaded to stop their texting addictions just because there are laws on the books to prohibit the act.

"What I would say is that texting and cell phone devices have become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it's hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong," remarked Steven Bloch, a senior research associate for the Automobile Club.

Considering that texting while driving isn't a habit that only affect teenagers, it's more than likely that drivers in a more "advanced state of age" are reluctant to stop the practice as well.

While the current nationwide texting bans affect a relatively small portion of the entire U.S. driver pool, Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat, NY) is looking to change that. Senator Schumer has introduced legislation that would call for a federal ban on texting while driving. States that don't comply with the legislation would be see a 25 percent cut in the federal highway funds they receive.



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RE: Excessive
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/26/2010 2:26:49 PM , Rating: 5
Our drunk driving laws are pretty pathetic. I seriously would like to know why that is the case. I've seen stories of people getting arrested for the 9th or 10th straight DUI offense. Seriously, W T F?

I say we slap them with $3,000 fees just for being a jacka$$ -- then add $1,000 for each consecutive offense after that.

That being said, I find texting while driving nearing the same level of stupidity. Taking your eyes off the road to type on your phone? How idiotic can you be?


RE: Excessive
By ClownPuncher on 1/26/2010 2:48:22 PM , Rating: 4
10 DUI's? Three strikes sounds good to me, jailtime should be the answer at that point, in addition to fines.


RE: Excessive
By Solandri on 1/27/2010 12:32:11 AM , Rating: 2
This has been studied pretty extensively. Unfortunately, people who think as you do are in the minority. Basically, everyone drinks, and everyone drives. Most of us are pretty good at keeping the two separate, but can you be absolutely sure you'll never climb into your car one day while you're roaring drunk? So jurors tend to look at a drunk driver in court and think, "that could be me", and tend to go easy on the guy.


RE: Excessive
By frobizzle on 1/28/2010 8:14:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
10 DUI's? Three strikes sounds good to me, jailtime should be the answer at that point, in addition to fines.

Jail time should be at the first offense. There is absolutely no valid excuse for DWI. None. You want to drink? Don't drive. You want to drive? Don't drink. How can it get any simpler?


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 3:30:32 PM , Rating: 3
I'm about as Libertarian as it gets, but the idea the state can't fine people for unsafely operating a motor vehicle on a state road is rather a stretch.

And yes, the fine for texting should be worse than the fine for drunk driving. According to studies, texting is considerably more dangerous while driving than being drunk.


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/26/2010 4:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm about as Libertarian as it gets.


The rest of your post just made this statement void....I would recommend reading some real libertarian articles like those posted here http://www.lewrockwell.com of you really wanted to brush up on what being a libertarian is all about.


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 4:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
I've been reading Lew Rockwell a lot longer than you I bet...and if YOU really knew what "being a libertarian was all about", you'd realize there's a wide range of viewpoints and beliefs within the spectrum.

When I see someone texting while driving a vehicle towards me, I realize they're threatening me, just like they would be if they stated they planned to kill me.

Now whether they actually collide with me or not doesn't matter...just as a verbal threat is still a threat, whether or not they actually carry it out.


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/26/2010 5:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When I see someone texting while driving a vehicle towards me, I realize they're threatening me, just like they would be if they stated they planned to kill me.


So by your reasoning you would justified in shooting them as they were driving down the road texting??? WoW....I would liked to see that logic played out in court.

Sounds allot like the argument for preemptive war that the last administration used. They "could" have been a threat to me therefore I was justified in attacking them before they actually did ANY harm to me.

Prohibiting Drunk Driving Is Not Self-Defense
http://www.lewrockwell.com/crovelli/crovelli41.1.h...


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 6:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that logic has already been played out in court. Seen how many times a cop has shot and killed someone driving towards them, under the premise they believed the person intended to run them over? Same principle.

So yes, if someone was texting and about to run me over and IF shooting them would prevent the accident and IF I had no other means to prevent the accident, I most certainly could shoot them, and almost certainly get off in court as well.

Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. Its a threat to anyone else on the road. You can't get around that simple fact...and even if it wasn't, the state (though NOT the federal) government would still have a right to control how you operate a vehicle on a public road.


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/26/2010 7:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. Its a threat to anyone else on the road. You can't get around that simple fact...and even if it wasn't, the state (though NOT the federal) government would still have a right to control how you operate a vehicle on a public road.


While I agree with the idea that the state has some right to control driving, I disagree that texting is anymore dangerous then any other distraction that can effect your driving that the person behind the wheel has control over.

quote:
Actually, that logic has already been played out in court. Seen how many times a cop has shot and killed someone driving towards them, under the premise they believed the person intended to run them over? Same principle.


Actually you would still possibly charged with manslaughter and would have to use your own funds to defend yourself where as the police would be put on paid leave while once again YOU paid to defend him.

Also I didn't realize that when you said driving towards you that you meant right at you, my mistake.

I would then by your logic conclude that if the driver were NOT texting but just driving at you that you would not consider them a threat but would just let them run over you???

Once again your logic makes for this law is flawed...texting is no worse then any other form of negligent driving no matter how much you try to defend it these laws like DUI laws make no sense.

(Also I would like apologize for my earlier remark about you being a libertarian, you are right they are varied in their opinions, please accept my apology if I seemed rude.)


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 10:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
"I disagree that texting is anymore dangerous then any other distraction that can effect your driving "

Studies have shown that texting is many times more dangerous than driving while drunk. Furthermore, the level of danger is irrelevant. The mere fact that the state chooses not to single out other forms of negligence (beyond dui, that is) in no way, shape, or form implies they lose the right to enforce a very real public safety risk from texting.


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/27/2010 12:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The mere fact that the state chooses not to single out other forms of negligence (beyond dui, that is) in no way, shape, or form implies they lose the right to enforce a very real public safety risk from texting.


This is the flaw in your entire argument, THEY ALL READY DO!!

The laws are on the books already. There is no need for these frivolous laws which will not lead to protecting the public but instead will only lead to more of an invasion of our privacy.

The hilarity of it is that these laws are already in place in several states and almost all of them the Law Enforcement is calling them unenforceable since there is no way to tell when someone is texting, calling some or using their Ipod.

Do you not understand that the only way they can enforce these laws is by either;

1. Examing your phone after an accident.

2. Making your cell provider give them access to your phone records.

3. Obtaining real time access to your phone's activity while your driving.

Now I know your thinking well if someone is texting while driving and causes an accident, then I'm fine with the State gaining that information to convict them. But what if they weren't texting while driving and the State still requests and is granted access to your private personal information.

I'm sorry no matter what you say, your argument holds no merit. It's like saying that when you committing a crime with dull knife it is much more heinous act then if you used a sharp one. Therefore we need the Anti-Dull Knife law which would penalize you additionally for committing a crime with a dull knife.

If you want to do anything just increase the punishment for negligent driving no matter what the cause!!

I say we enforce or address the laws on the books FIRST, before you go out of your way to try to make new ones that will only result in infringing upon the public's privacy.


RE: Excessive
By Farfignewton on 1/27/2010 2:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So by your reasoning you would justified in shooting them as they were driving down the road texting??? WoW....I would liked to see that logic played out in court.


Stupidicide isn't even a word, how could it be a crime? ;)


RE: Excessive
By Yames on 1/26/2010 4:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
Here is Libertarian for you. This is none of the federal govts business. This is a state matter and should be left up to the states to create and enforce this kind of law.


RE: Excessive
By ClownPuncher on 1/26/2010 4:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not only is it not their business, it is not within their rights to do so. Prohibition was even lifted in part due to the fact that it was deemed unconstitutional to have a Federal ban on anything not mentioned in the Constitution directly.


RE: Excessive
By msomeoneelsez on 1/26/2010 4:47:21 PM , Rating: 1
Prohibition was a Constitutional Amendment...........


RE: Excessive
By ClownPuncher on 1/26/2010 5:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Which violated the 10th amendment, which was why it was repealed ... dot dot dot .. dot .


RE: Excessive
By msomeoneelsez on 1/27/2010 1:59:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


That one??

The 18th Amendment stated
quote:
1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


In other words, it Constitutionally granted the power to enforce liquor restrictions to the state and federal governments. Thats what Amendments do.

Prohibition was repealed because it obviously didn't work, and it created a TON more problems than it "solved."

Furthermore, it took another Constitutional Amendment, the 21st Amendment, to repeal it.
quote:
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 5:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Here is Libertarian for you. This is none of the federal govts business."

Which is exactly what I said.


RE: Excessive
By AEvangel on 1/26/2010 4:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm about as Libertarian as it gets, but the idea the state can't fine people for unsafely operating a motor vehicle on a state road is rather a stretch.


Sorry for the multi-post, but I never said that...I said there were laws already in place to deal with this issue. The DUI laws were just another way for the State to generate income nothing less, they do not keep us any safer then the current laws that were already on the books.


RE: Excessive
By Samus on 1/26/2010 8:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
First offense for driving drunk should be a fine and some heavy consequences.

Second offense should be permanent loss of driving privilages. Forever.

It's a privilage to drive. You appearantly didn't learn the first time, so you're probably never going to learn and even when you finally kill somebody and get the joke-of-a-charge for vehicular manslaughter (1-3 years in prison in Illinois, and rarely enforced) you'll be back out there again doing it.

People go their entire lives without driving so I don't want to hear this shit like "Waaaaaaah I need my car to get to work!" and "Waaaaaah how am I going to pick up my kids from school!?"

Fuck that. It's time for you to move to a city where you have some public transit. Too big of a change? Well, you should have thought about that before you got in a car wasted enough to be pulled over. More than once.


RE: Excessive
By Reclaimer77 on 1/26/2010 3:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Not sure how I got a -1 and you got a +5 for saying the same thing, but I agree.

quote:
That being said, I find texting while driving nearing the same level of stupidity. Taking your eyes off the road to type on your phone? How idiotic can you be?


Well I don't agree it's the same. And I'm not sure why we're drawing the line at texting. And I don't agree that you can compare a distraction to an impairment. Drunk drivers are physically unable to focus, a texting person can put the phone down and be 100% at driving. A drunk person is just.. well, drunk.

What about the mother with the baby in the seat next to her swerving all over the place because she's distracted ? Or these f'ing morons driving with a dog on their laps ?

This isn't about safety. It's about governments in a recession looking for more funding. And the fine, in my opinion, in NO WAY matches the "crime". It's excessive. I've gotten in WRECKS that's cost me less money than this.


RE: Excessive
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/26/2010 3:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
If a mother is driving with her crying baby seated beside her, I know a few officers that would have a field day with her :)


RE: Excessive
By Reclaimer77 on 1/26/2010 3:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
Would they fine her $2,750 ???


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 4:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
You have a choice to text or not. If your baby starts crying, you can't exactly just turn it off (not without breaking a few other, much more serious laws, that is)


RE: Excessive
By ClownPuncher on 1/26/2010 5:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point was car seats should be in the backseat, rather than in the passenger seat.


RE: Excessive
By porkpie on 1/26/2010 6:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
If that was the point, then its even more moot, as a woman who intentional endangers her child while driving (by refusing to properly use an infant seat) can be charged not just a couple thousand bucks, but with felony endangerment. Several such cases have happened in recent years.


RE: Excessive
By Kurz on 1/27/2010 12:35:29 AM , Rating: 2
Heh I guess you've developed quite a aura about you Reclaimer.
People down rate you even if they agree with you.


RE: Excessive
By Reclaimer77 on 1/28/2010 12:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Heh I guess you've developed quite a aura about you Reclaimer. People down rate you even if they agree with you.


I think people, especially younger ones, think that Conservatives like me are just against everything. Even laws like this that sound good and are well intentioned. You often here the Republican party called by Democrats "the party of NO".

That's not true. Me and others like me, would just like to see Government power more challenged and questioned. Because what a lot of people don't seem to get is that government power is, well, like a slow growing tumor. It starts small and seems very benign at first. People get used to the Government making a lot of "little" laws and rulings that only slightly effect our freedoms, or only the ones of "other people".

And before you know it, here we are today. With tons of laws on the books that are Unconstitutional, and nobody cares. People have grown accustomed to our Government overstepping it's bounds, and I just would like to see that more challenged. Our Government is out of control, and it started with LITTLE things, and people were silent and did nothing.

In Europe they are so regulated that you can't even carry your fathers coffin as a Pallbearer if you aren't an official government approved pallbearer. Honestly, is this where we are headed as a country ?

Just ask yourselves more questions when you see laws like these. Challenge yourself and the government. Try to see both sides of the argument. Because they are a big deal, because all these little things add up to BIG THINGS. The Government is not made up of well intentioned people looking out for your well being, I'm sorry to say. Just think about it.


RE: Excessive
By AstroCreep on 1/26/2010 5:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
What makes me roll my eyes is that (in Ohio at least) you can get cited with an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) for something as simple as using your battery-operated unlocker and getting into the passenger side.

Defined as "I am in control of and am therefore operating" a vehicle at that point, I can be cited for an OVI, even if I have a cab parked next to me and I am simply grabbing my garage door opener from my car.


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