Texting-while-driving bans suggested to states

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Federal safety regulators have proposed a set of guidelines for states to create laws that would ban text messaging while driving.

The sample state law, announced last week, comes amid growing concern about the risks of texting while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured.

"Texting while driving, like talking on cell phones while driving, is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening practice," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

The proposed legislation, prepared by NHTSA and industry advisers, would authorize law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving.

Under the proposed guidelines, drivers caught typing on a handheld device while behind the wheel would face a minimum fine of $75 and unspecified action against their driving privileges. In cases resulting in serious injury or death, a driving while texting offense could be considered a felony.

"This language, which we created with a variety of safety organizations, is another powerful tool in our arsenal to help the states combat this serious threat," LaHood said.

A ban on texting behind the wheel has already been enacted in 19 states and the District of Columbia. There are seven states that have banned the use of handheld devices while driving.

Regulators said texting is particularly dangerous because it distracts drivers in three different ways: visually, manually and cognitively.

What's more, NHTSA research shows that the most frequent offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers, men and women under 20 years of age.

The sample state law is modeled on rules implemented last year directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment.

In addition, the Department of Transportation announced federal guidance earlier this year to prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

"Our top priority is safety and we are determined to help the states eradicate the dangerous practice of texting while driving," NHTSA administrator David Strickland said in a statement.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,805.41 127.51 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,483.72 30.92 0.69%
S&P 500 1,964.58 13.76 0.71%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 3:45am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 13.78 -0.62 -4.31%
Microsoft Corp 46.13 1.11 2.47%
Apple Inc 105.22 0.39 0.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.72 0.12 0.72%
Yahoo! Inc 43.50 0.90 2.11%
Data as of Oct 24

Sections

New York headlines took a straight forward and direct approach with NYC's Ebola news. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Shares of Facebook recently topped $80. They've more than quadrupled from their post-IPO lows of two years ago. Can Mark Zuckerberg keep the momentum in mobile going? More

Using technology developed for the military and implemented in Iraq, schools have installed alarm systems that detect gunfire. More

If you're looking to fly this holiday season, the clock's ticking to get the best prices. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.