The state motto in New Hampshire is "Live Free or Die," but a law taking effect on July 1 suggests that "Hands-Free or Fine" might be a little more appropriate. The Granite State is the latest to put a complete ban on drivers operating a handheld device from behind the wheel, according to CBS Boston. That means cellphone calls, texting, and laptop and tablet use are all prohibited while driving.

The ban carries a $100 fine for the first offense. It's $250 for the second time, and $500 for any more in a 24-month period. Technology like Bluetooth is still permitted for making calls under this rule. According to the CBS Boston, distracted driving has been blamed for 124 crashes in New Hampshire in the last four years.

Both the government and automakers have been working to crack down on distracted driving in recent years, but the dangerous act has still been blamed for 58 percent of accidents among teens. New Hampshire is hardly the first place to try banning handheld devices to make people safer, though, and a checkerboard of laws around the country attempts to achieve similar goals. According to government data, 12 other states forbid holding a cellphone behind the wheel, and they are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. Plus, Washington DC, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands also make it illegal. Meanwhile, rules in Maine and Utah tackle the more general idea of distracted driving, rather than signaling out a gadget. Additionally, 50 states or territories make texting against the law when operating a vehicle.

Unfortunately, research indicates that all of these laws may not keep people safe. One study found that California's ban only dropped the daily rate of crashes from 66.7 to 65.2 per day, and the number of insurance claims reinforced those findings. Drivers have reported understanding the danger, but still continue their bad behavior.

Related Video:

Teens Distracted Driving

Share This Photo X