North Dakota Bans Texting While Driving
Motorcycle Safety News
Motorcyclists in North Dakota will have an extra sense of safety on August 1. On that date, the “Peace Garden State” will become the 31st to ban texting while operating a motor vehicle.
This is another achievement to help dilute the thousands of distracted drivers that motorcycle riders endure on a daily basis.
Once this news was made public, UltimateMotorCycling.com contacted the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), knowing the organization would have a positive response to the North Dakota texting while driving law.
Peter terHorst (AMA Spokesman) says: “The American Motorcyclist Association is encouraged by the number of states taking action to penalize distracted driving activities such as texting while operating a motor vehicle.
“Distracted or inattentive driving has become a major concern to the motorcycling community. Motor vehicle operators engaged in these behaviors are not just a danger to motorcyclists – they endanger pedestrians, bicyclists, roadside assistance and emergency medical personnel, highway construction workers, and law enforcement personnel. The AMA acknowledges that motorcyclists share this responsibility as well.”
The texting while driving ban was recently signed into law after the proper steps were taken by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, the State Legislature and the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The bill describes texting as using a wireless communications device to compose, read or send an electronic message.
As for penalties, if drivers are caught texting in North Dakota, they can be ticketed for $100; the other 30 states have similar penalties. But to ensure this type of distracted driving ceases, the penalties may have to be enhanced, as the AMA points out.
Peter terHorst says: “The AMA supports legislation that includes enhanced penalty options to be determined by the courts. Examples include enhanced fines, operator’s license suspension, points assessed on an operator’s record, community service, and imprisonment.”
The first state to make the roads a bit safer for motorcyclists was Washington, which signed the texting ban into law in May, 2007. Since then, many states jumped on the safety trend.
Barbara Harsha (Governors Highway Safety Association Executive Director) says: “In just a little less than four years, a clear majority of states have acted to ban this dangerous driving behavior. We anticipate another 10 states may pass similar laws within the next year. Regardless of the law, the safest practice is to put your phone away and focus on driving.”
Now that North Dakota has joined the texting while driving ban, motorcyclists that travel the 340-miles long by 211-miles wide state are one throttle-twist closer to roads containing less-distracted drivers.
But there are still 19 states to go. If you’re a motorcyclist in one of these 19 states, there are ways to be heard. Log onto the rights’ section of the AMA website by clicking here to become active in ensuring not only your own safety, but the safety of every motorcycist riding in your state.
Following is a list of states where Texting While Driving is Illegal:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota (8/1/11)
- Rhode Island
*D.C., Guam are also included in the texting ban