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AutoBlog: Senators mulling a nationwide ban on texting while driving

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Filed under: Government/Legal

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Last time we checked in with the issue of texting while driving, the NHTSA practically claimed it was gagged by Congress. Fast forward a week -- after the New York Times report and the results of a Virginia Tech study -- and now a group of Democratic senators is proposing a nationwide ban on texting behind the wheel.

In a study of truckers, VA Tech said the increased risk of an accident was 23-times higher when texting and six-times higher when simply dialing or reaching for "an electronic device." In response to those kinds of numbers, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) said "The federal government ought to pass a law banning this dangerous and growing practice to protect the millions of Americans on our nation's roads. It is a matter of public safety."

Like the drunk driving or minimum drinking age laws enacted in years past, the proposed legislation would punish states that don't enact the restrictions by reducing federal highway funds by 25%. There's no timeline yet for the legislation to be passed, but if it does get approved, it would become law within six months, and states would be given two years to develop their own laws. Important to note: the law would only apply to texting in moving cars, not stopped cars.

[source: Yahoo! | Image Source: Bruno Vincent/Getty]

Senators mulling a nationwide ban on texting while driving originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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As dangerous as texting is, implementing this law would be kind of hard to enforce, wouldn't it? Plus, drivers will continue to text, just lower down to avoid people from seeing them, which would make it more dangerous anyways.

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yay, waste more time on unenforceable laws! I guess it's better than trying to dictate how GM gets run.

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im guilty as charged of this, however, my phone has a querty keyboard. its always on the straight parts of the highway or at redlights. resting my hands on the wheel ( one of the rare times i have both hands on the wheel :lol:) the phone is in direct view of the road. i type a word, look and see if its correctly spelled, then go to the next word. btw didnt they just announce that blue tooth headsets didnt improve any safety just recently?

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this is a states issue

Agreed. Congress will probably tie it to highway funding, but it should be up to the states to enact such a law. California has had it since the beginning of the year. Texting or checking emails while the vehicle in motion is dangerous, but not at a stoplight, and that's where the law goes too far.

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