Texting and Driving, here are the facts, the simple truth.
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What's new in the Texting n Driving world?

Frank Ryan, Plastic Surgeon, Dies: What Really may have Caused Crash?Frank Ryan, Plastic Surgeon, Dies: What Really may have Caused Crash?

(CBS) Dr. Frank Ryan, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who gained notoriety for performing 10 procedures at once on TV star Heidi Montag, was killed Monday August 16, 2010 in a car crash.

Ryan's Jeep Wrangler veered off of the Pacific Coast Highway and landed on the rocks below, CBS News reported.

The 50-year-old doctor was tweeting that his border collie was enjoying the view before the fatal accident, according to the New York Daily News. Ryan's dog - reportedly unrestrained - was thrown from the car but survived.

Investigators have not yet formally determined the cause of the accident, but have confirmed that Ryan had been texting.

Experts say both activities - texting while driving and driving with an unrestrained pet - can contribute to car accidents.

The CBS Early Show reported that in 2008 there were 6,000 fatalities due to accidents caused by distracted drivers. And, in a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and pet product company Kurgo, 80 percent of respondents said they've driven with their pets.
But only 17 percent of those who drive with pets said they use a pet restraint system. This causes a distraction, says the AAA, equal to talking on a cell phone or texting n driving.

"Early Show" correspondent and resident Veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner Bell says people who drive with pets should always keep them in an enclosed area of the car.

Fast facts - Texting bans - Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 23 states and the District of Columbia: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in eight states: Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and West Virginia.


Bi-Partisan Push to Stop Texting and Driving

President Obama Bans "Texting while Driving" for 4,500,000 government workersPresident Obama Bans "Texting while Driving" for 4,500,000 government workers - Nothing makes you a supporter of a ban on "texting while driving" like your body coming into contact with a vehicle driven by some moron fiddling with a cell phone. (Several Ars staffers have had that unpleasant experience firsthand.) President Obama doesn't want any of those morons to be federal employees—as of Thursday, all government employees are banned from texting while driving whenever they are on the job, driving a federal vehicle, or using a government-supplied cell phone.

The executive order affects nearly 4.5 million employees across the US, including postal workers and military personnel. The only situations in which federal workers might be able to get away with texting while driving is if they are not working, they are driving their own vehicle, and they are using their own phone; and that's assuming their particular state doesn't already ban texting and driving.

"This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at this week's Distracted Driving Summit in Washington D.C.

Indeed, the Distracted Driving Summit marked one of the first major efforts for federal lawmakers, law enforcement, and safety groups to address not only texting while driving, but all manner of behind-the-wheel distractions. One of the big players at the two-day meeting was the The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which only recently got behind texting while driving bans—previously, the GHSA opposed enacting anti-texting-and-driving laws on the grounds that enforcement would be difficult. The GHSA still believes this but says that recent evidence has pushed it to reconsider supporting the ban and that it would work towards enforcement education in the coming months.

A recent study out of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that those who texted while driving increased their crash risk by 23 times; the state of Utah recently made headlines by passing a law threatening 15 years in prison for those who end up in an accident thanks to texting and driving.

According to the GHSA's helpful table on cell phone driving laws, 18 states plus the District of Columbia already ban text messaging for all drivers, while nine states ban it for "novice" drivers and one state restricts it from school bus drivers only.

According to the US Department of Transportation, there were at least 515,000 injuries and 5,870 fatalities in the US in 2008 as a result of distracted driving—these numbers are taken from police reports, so the actual numbers could be quite a bit higher.  By Jacqui Cheng

Tennessee 2nd in U.S. for Texting and Driving - Almost nine of 10 Americans agree that texting while driving spells trouble, yet South Carolina and Tennessee lead the nation in those who admit to sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel.

A national survey of nearly 5,000 cell-phone users, released this week by Common Knowledge Research Services for the Vlingo Corp., revealed that Tennessee's text-messaging motorists are topped only by those in South Carolina.

A bill that would have made driving while texting, or DWT, illegal failed to pass the Tennessee Legislature in March. So for now, at least, Tennessee's text messengers can go on typing with their thumbs while steering with their pinkies, perhaps assisted by their knees.

"Clearly it's an enormous danger for anybody to be texting while driving," said Don Lindsey, longtime safety expert for AAA of East Tennessee. "Not only do you have the distraction of somebody thinking about what you're going to say, you either have to either feel with your thumbs those little itty-bitty buttons or, worse, look down on the phone and do it."

In an earlier Harris poll released last year, nine in 10 adults said texting while driving is dangerous, according to national reports. Nevertheless, almost 30 percent admit to texting from behind the wheel, according to the new study.

Text messaging isn't just for teens anymore. Almost nine in 10 teens and young adults use text messaging, but adults who let their fingers do the talking are fast expanding, with 55 percent of all cell-phone users now making use of the alphabet on their keypads, the new study revealed.

A new phrase has even been coined for business professionals who text from beneath their desks, tables - or steering wheels. The "BlackBerry prayer" is the term given to the giveaway lowered eyes, bowed head and hands-in-lap posture.

Even Lindsey acknowledges he likes the efficiency of text messaging and has received text messages from associates on the road. He wouldn't consider it himself, he said.

"The risk of collision increases up to 400 percent while talking on a cell phone while driving," said Lindsey, citing a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In less than one second, a car traveling at 60 mph can travel the length of a tractor trailer, Lindsey added.

While executives may favor the BlackBerry or similar devices with expanded QWERTY keyboards, or typical typewriter keyboards, almost 90 percent of cell-phone users are still using awkward nine-button numeric keypads for text messaging, the new study said.

Tennessee outlaws any cell phone use by teens on learner's permits or provisional graduated driving licenses. Other drivers may be cited for reckless driving or failure to control their vehicles if involved in a collision while using their phones, Lindsey pointed out.

"If it's shown you were distracted, you can be charged with a variety of things," Lindsey added.
By Marti Davis Knoxville News Sentinel Posted May 21, 2008

Iowa Texting Ban Goes Into Effect July 1st - Council Bluffs, IA - Three laws in effect beginning July 1st. No texting while driving for adults and for drivers under 18, a complete ban on cell phone use. A similar ban goes into effect in Nebraska July 15th. That ban includes no texting while driving and is a secondary offense in Nebraska, meaning police need another reason to pull over drivers.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to Sign Safe Driving Bill - July 01, 2010 Boston Governor  Deval Patrick is preparing to sign a safe driving bill that bans texting while driving and requires older drivers to get vision tests every five years. The governor will sign the bill on Friday at noon. Those caught texting and driving would face a fine and the suspension of their license or learner's permit under the legislation. The bill completely bans drivers under 18 from using cell phones. Anyone 18 and older would still be able to use cell phones while driving without facing any penalty. The Associated Press

Georgia's New Texting n Driving Law - Governor Signs Texting and Cell Phone Bill into Law
Governor Perdue has signed two new distracted driving bills into law, Senate Bill 360 and House Bill 23. Senate Bill 360 is the Caleb Sorohan Act and prohibits individuals from using wireless telecommunications devices for writing, sending or receiving text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Specifically the new law states:

"No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, electronic mail, or Internet data."

The fine for offenders will be $150 and one point on their driver license, the new law goes into effect on July 1st, 2010. House Bill 23 was also signed into law by the Governor. This new law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless communication device. Specifically the new law states:

"prohibits use of wireless telecommunications devices by persons under 18 years of age with an instruction permit or Class D license while operating a motor vehicle"

Like the other new driving law, the fine for offenders will be $150 and one point on their driver license, the new law goes into effect on July 1st, 2010.

Michigan bans texting while driving - LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan motorists should have one less excuse for being distracted behind the wheel. The state's ban on texting while driving takes effect Thursday, July 01, 2010.

The law makes it illegal for a person to read, write or send text messages from a cell phone or other device while operating fraction with a $100 fine for a first offense and $200 after that. The state doesn't add any points to a driver's record for violations.

Texting-while-Driving ban signed into R.I. law - Nov 10, 2009 - PROVIDENCE, R.I. _ With the stroke of Governor Carcieri's pen, it is now illegal to text-message while driving in Rhode Island.

Sending, reading or writing a text message, such as an e-mail or instant message, with any kind of data-transmission device while operating a moving motor vehicle would be punishable at the Traffic Tribunal by a fine of $85 on first offense, $100 on second offense and $125 for a third or subsequent offense.

Jordin SparksU.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood, Congressional Leaders and Jordin Sparks Join Allstate in Urging Americans to Stop Texting and Driving - WASHINGTON, April 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood joined singing sensation Jordin Sparks, Congressional leaders and Allstate senior executives to urge Americans to take a pledge not to text and drive.

“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic, and we need to work together to stop thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths every year,” said Secretary LaHood. “I applaud the efforts of Allstate to encourage Americans to take personal responsibility and help put an end to this dangerous behavior.”

Ban on cellphone use while driving leads to nearly 670 citations
The state's (Washington) new ban on using a cellphone or texting while driving has led to nearly 670 citations between June 10 and July 1, 2010. By Seattle Times staff

State Patrol Chief John Batiste believes compliance has increased since the violation became a primary offense, and that's making things easier for troopers. "Those who continue to flout the law are now much easier to spot," Batiste said in a news release.

On June 10, the state's old law on cellphones and texting moved from being a secondary offense to a primary one, which means that troopers no longer need some other reason to stop a driver they see texting or using a cellphone.

The State Patrol did not give a formal grace period, as it typically does with new laws. Drivers who don't use a handsfree device can get a $124 ticket. Along with the nearly 670 citations, nearly 500 warnings were issued.

During the same period in 2009, only about 110 cellphone and texting citations were issued by the State Patrol. In the state, between 2006 and 2008, more than 3,000 drivers were involved in collisions while using cellphones.

July 05, 2013
Salem, OR -- Getting caught in the act of making a call or tapping out a text while driving could soon cost a serious chunk of change. Under a bill that has suddenly picked up steam at the Oregon Legislature, the fine for using a cell phone from behind the wheel would double to a maximum of $500 instead of the current $250 maximum.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who is pushing the bill, said he ratcheted down his original proposal of a $1,000 fine to secure enough backing to keep the bill alive.
Senate Bill 9 moves talking or texting while driving from Class D violation status to Class C. It applies only to people who don't use hands-free devices.

Courtney said his main focus is to quash the increased practice of sending or reading text messages while motoring through town. "Texting is a way of life," he said shortly after a subcommittee breathed new life into a bill that had stagnated almost all session. "They really believe they can drive a car and text." Courtney said he was inspired to stiffen penalties after he watched a video that demonstrated that texting was more dangerous than drinking when it comes to operating a car. "The reaction times are worse," he said.

The bill includes $130,350 for the Oregon Department of Transportation to produce signs on state highways that warn drivers about the new fines. Courtney said he wants the same kind of public awareness campaign as the ones to persuade drivers to buckle up. The Oregon State Police has taken a neutral stand on the bill, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman for the agency. But he acknowledges growing concern about the way cell phones are used by drivers. "In general terms, texting and driving is a real problem," Hastings said. "It takes the focus off the task of driving."

Now that a law against using handheld cell phones in cars has been on the books for a couple of years, police are issuing fewer warnings and more citations, Hastings said. Courtney's bill now goes to the full Ways and Means Committee, and then to the Senate and House floors. The fact that it has begun to move is a good indication that it is on its way to passage.

He said the current fine isn't enough of a deterrent –people continue to use their phones, and many remain unaware they are breaking the law. "What's going to happen, God forbid, is some kid is going to get run over," Courtney said. He thinks the new fines, and the road signs, will move phone-caused distracted driving up with drunken driving as a clear danger in the public's mind. "I think that the day of Mothers Against Texting is coming."
-- Harry Esteve

New York officials say more state troopers in unmarked sport utility vehicles are on the road this summer looking for drivers who are texting instead of watching where they're going. The summer campaign against texting while driving, now subject to stiffer penalties, includes state police in what authorities call "Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement" vehicles. They're taller than average and intended to let officers see better into other cars to determine if somebody is texting. The unmarked vehicles in various colors have hidden emergency lights. More than 30,000 tickets were issued in the state for texting at the wheel last year, up 234 percent from 2011.
-- News 10 WHEC-TV Rochester, NY

Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet him.

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