Print 92 comment(s) - last by sdfasdgdhasdf.. on Jan 30 at 12:58 PM

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 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.

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 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
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.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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