Last week, two more states joined the texting while driving ban that will help keep motorcyclists safer – West Virginia and Idaho.
With these two additional states, there are now 37 states that ban texting while driving, along with D.C. and Guam.
West Virginia’s Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the distracted-driving bill into law on April 3, and Idaho’s Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter on April 6; both laws go into effect July 1.
These anti-texting bans will ultimately help provide additional safety for motorcyclists. A quick fact from the Idaho Office of Highway Safety helps back this, considering distracted driving such as texting while driving has contributed to one out of every five crashes in the state between 2007 and 2009.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that "with the right combination of education and enforcement, this new law can help keep Idaho’s roads safer for all."
And part of those "all" are thousands of motorcyclists.
Upon hearing the news about a state to ban texting last year, the American Motorcycle Association responded.
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 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.
But there are still 13 states to go. If you’re a motorcyclist in one of these 13 states, there are ways to be heard. Log onto the rights’ section of the AMA website 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 that ban texting while driving:
- Idaho (July 1, 2012)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia (July, 2012)
*D.C., Guam are also included in the texting ban