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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 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
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.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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