• Jul 29, 2009
Last time we checked in with the issue of texting while driving, the NHTSA practically claimed it was gagged by Congress. Fast forward a week -- after the New York Times report and the results of a Virginia Tech study -- and now a group of Democratic senators is proposing a nationwide ban on texting behind the wheel.

In a study of truckers, VA Tech said the increased risk of an accident was 23-times higher when texting and six-times higher when simply dialing or reaching for "an electronic device." In response to those kinds of numbers, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) said "The federal government ought to pass a law banning this dangerous and growing practice to protect the millions of Americans on our nation's roads. It is a matter of public safety."

Like the drunk driving or minimum drinking age laws enacted in years past, the proposed legislation would punish states that don't enact the restrictions by reducing federal highway funds by 25%. There's no timeline yet for the legislation to be passed, but if it does get approved, it would become law within six months, and states would be given two years to develop their own laws. Important to note: the law would only apply to texting in moving cars, not stopped cars.

[Source: Yahoo! | Image Source: Bruno Vincent/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      Joseph Quintas
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a states rights issue. Many states, including my home state of Maryland, have such laws on the books and they work out just fine. This kind of legislation should be left to the states to deal with, period. This same type of crap is happening in England, they trot out this "WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN - HEALTH AND SAFETY!!!!!!!" crap and scare everyone into voting for it while demonizing those who wish to keep a modicum of freedom for themselves. If a state sees that texting while driving is a problem then they should enact the laws to ban it, not have Pelosi and co. have it legislatively crammed down their throats!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      CB

      "Where in the Constitution does it allow the Federal Government to regulate driving?"

      Well, there's no mention of the mandate of the Government to do the Moon landing or protect people from contracting listeriosis from food made by a dodgy manufacturer.

      If the government is mandated to provide security and safety for the US citizens, it doesn't mean just invading foreign countries, it also means a mandate to keep idiots off the roads and protect law abiding drivers. Different kind of safety and security but equally important.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's the bottom line: You can pass any number of laws or ban any given activity, but the question is do you have the resources to enforce them?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This should be quite easy to put into place. I've been saying it for a few years now, but simply make the cell phone manufacturers put a piece of programming into place that doesn't allow texting while the cell phone is moving. It could detect this as it jumps from cell tower to cell tower or some other way. Now I know there would be a problem with passengers texting, so I propose a key unlock type function. Where a series of keys have to be pressed simultaneously or something. Like 1 and 9 this way, for most people, it'll take two hands to do so.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quite honestly, it is about time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i ll second that. some people have a hard enough time just driving .there are plenty of these clueless asses out there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This isn't a matter of government meddling in our personal business. Texting while driving lowers your awareness to a level BELOW what it is when you're drunk. It is, in certain situations, more dangerous than DUI. In my book, you can do what you want with your own body, but the minute you put me or any fellow citizen in danger through your own negligent actions, the law has EVERY right to step in. It's why I cant juggle swords through a preschool or hit the crack pipe before I get behind the wheel. Think before you speak.
      glenn stordeur
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is that Matt Lauer texting?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @glenn stordeur
        "GET ME SUM NAWWS!!!!"
        • 5 Years Ago
        @glenn stordeur
        +1 lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      How the hell are you going to enforce this one...not that it isn't necessary, just how you gonna do it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I suppose the cop in the passenger seat has to be useful for something...
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are only a few things you can say with 10 digits...most text editing carries on for a full minute.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So....if texting while driving is dangerous because it diverts attention from the road...
        A
        nd ...you're watching someone twiddle with their phone long enough to determine whether they are texting or dialing...

        Are you not also endangering other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists by having your attention diverted as well?
        • 5 Years Ago
        cops have these things called eyes. it's pretty easy.

        for those of you complaining about "taking away my freedom" I have this to say: public road paid for by our dollars means you'll obey our rules. senators and reps are elected by us, therefore they make laws for us. if you don't like it tough, we live in this place called a representative democracy and that's how our system works.
      katatonics
      • 5 Years Ago
      California already has a law in place to this effect. It really does not inconvenience anyone all that much. Being that driving is a "privilege," not a right, it makes sense that anything that would impair your response time be discouraged.

      Those still wanting to talk on their cell or text while driving still get away with it, but by and large it has decreased freeway texting, which certainly makes my commute better. Common sight: on streets, a light turns green, and the car at the front takes a second longer to notice due to texting.

      I can live with that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We get this debate practically every time a new law is proposed that restricts citizens' actions. Many of you are missing the point, however. Those of us that are upset about this bill (myself included) are not debating whether or not texting while driving is dangerous; we all already know the answer to that question. Rather, I am personally upset by the fact that this is just another LAW to limit our freedoms.

      It is upsetting that some people are so stupid to text while driving in the first place, and then we as a society are stupid enough to pay a bunch of people to slowly take our freedoms away.

      In my perfect little world, the government would just exist for its fundamental purpose. People would realise that texting and driving is dangerous for themselves, and so not do it.

      I think a better debate might be how effective this law might be...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I posted yesterday about bad judgment. Case in point....

      This guy should never be able to drive again. Period. I don't care how many times
      he apologizes (or cries). Period.

      http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/traffic/2009/07/ny_tow_truck_driver.html
      • 5 Years Ago
      Damn, they'll ban drink-driving next!!
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