From Washington to New Hampshire, Lawmakers Move to Ban Texting While Driving

In October, we blogged about the Oregon motorist who crashed into a train after using his cellphone to send a text message while driving.

Such accidents had spurred Washington lawmakers in April 2007 to become the first legislature in the nation to sign a bill into law prohibiting text messaging while driving a motor vehicle. Originally sponsored by Rep. Joyce McDonald, the bill passed the Washington State House 73-23 on March 13, 2007, passed the Senate 32-15 on April 13, 2007, and was signed into law by the governor on May 11, 2007. See the final text of the law here (PDF).

The good news is that legislation to ban texting while driving is gaining steam in more states as reported by fellow bloggers at the personal injury law firm of Labovick & Labovick. One example cited is New Hampshire lawmaker David Campbell who recently filed the paperwork for a bill to ban two-handed texting or typing on any electronic or telecommunications device while driving. According to Campbell, a police officer told him that aside from cell phone texting, some drivers are even typing on laptop computers while behind the wheel.

A truly scary statistic: according to a national survey of 1,000 16- and 17-year-old drivers released on July 10, 2007, by AAA, 46 percent send text messages with their cell phones while driving.

We hope more legislatures soon follow the example set by Washington.