texting while driving

New State Laws to Prevent Mobile Phone Use While Driving

Smartphones may be one of the most useful gadgets ever invented, but they also come with unintended and sometimes fatal consequences. The rise of smartphone use has led to an alarming number of car and traffic accidents that are often associated with driving while distracted.

Distracted driving is often caused by the reckless practice of using smartphones and other mobile devices, including texting and making calls, while on the road. These have resulted in physical injuries, damage to property and fatalities.

The latest national statistics on driving while using mobile devices is very alarming:

  • In 2017 alone, over 3,100 individuals lost their lives due to distracted driving. This accounts for 8.6% of overall fatalities from vehicular accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Out of every 1,000 people injured every day, nine are involved in a distracted driving accident.
  • The NHTSA also reports that on any given day, about 480,000 drivers use smartphones while driving during daylight hours.
  • Among those involved in distracted driving, teen drivers comprise the age group with the biggest number of distracted driving fatal crashes.

State Laws and Regulations

There is still no national law banning texting or the use of smartphone devices while driving. But some states have already passed laws prohibiting this. Some states also require the use of hands-free gadgets to take calls while on the road.

In some areas like Raleigh, NC, bail bonds may be needed for these infractions. The following is a summary of the pertinent laws.

  • Thirty-eight states including the District of Columbia ban smartphone use by newbie drivers.
  • Twenty-one states including the District of Columbia ban smartphone use by school bus drivers.
  • Sixteen states including the District of Columbia ban smartphone use by all drivers.
  • Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban smartphone use by all drivers.
  • Forty-seven states including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands ban texting while driving for all drivers.

Things You Can Do To Help

woman driving a car

  • Provide Clear Instructions – Make sure to give novice drivers straightforward and clear instructions not to use any mobile device while driving. Before any driver gets access to their license, it is important to discuss the dangers distracted driving, specifically, the use of smartphones, taking calls and texting. It is vital that drivers understand that taking their eyes off the road even for a split second, can lead to accidents with fatal consequences.
  • Disseminate Information and Be Active – Always make it a point to disseminate this information. Tell your family, loved ones, friends and colleagues the importance of focus during driving and to do so without any distractions.

If you want others to follow your cause, lead by being a good example yourself. Do not text or make calls while you are driving. Be a role model and place your phone away when you are on the road. If you need to call or text someone, pull over somewhere safe to do so. Set the example by following the rules.