Hawaii Becomes 40th State to Ban Texting While Driving
Motorcycle Safety News
There’s no doubt about it – one of the largest dangers to motorcyclists is distracted automobile drivers.
And one of the largest distractions nowadays, even sometimes compared to the dangers of drinking while driving, is texting behind the wheel. This texting-while-driving epidemic has caused many deaths, not only to automobile drives, but to numerable motorcyclists.
These horrific numbers have caused almost all states to ban texting while driving. And the latest – the 40th – was Hawaii.
The new ban on texting while driving law was signed into law Monday by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie. The law also prohibits hand-held cell phone use while driving; there are now 11 states with this provision.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently praised Hawaii for taking such action, and expects addition states to follow the role.
Barbara Harsha (GHSA Executive Director) says: “Congratulations to the governor, legislature and Hawaii Department of Transportation for this important safety achievement. This action sends an important message to all Hawaii drivers: cell phone use and driving do not mix.
“It’s remarkable that 40 states have acted on the texting issue since 2007. While more work remains, states have quickly responded to the emerging problem of distracted driving.”
Texting bans are pending in Florida and Texas. GHSA encourages every state to enact both texting and hand-held bans for all drivers.
Upon hearing the news about a previous state that banned texting while driving, 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.
Following is a list of states that ban texting while driving:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia (July, 2012)
*D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam are also included in the texting ban