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40 states now ban texting in cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Hawaii has enacted a law making it the 40th state in the nation to ban texting while driving a car. The law, which goes into effect July 1, is the first anti-texting law passed this year.

Laws against texting while driving dramatically increased in 2009, when AAA started a campaign to have the practice outlawed in all 50 states. Prior to 2009, just 18 states had laws against texting while driving. Florida is expected to ban the practice soon, leaving just Arizona, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina and Texas with no laws against texting while driving.

Those who text while driving are six times more likely to crash their cars than those who aren't, according to a 2009 University of Utah study.  A survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that 35 percent of those surveyed admitted to reading a text within the last 30 days and 27 percent said they had sent a text or email within the prior month. That same surveyed showed that 86 percent of those surveyed support laws against reading, typing, or sending a text or email while driving, and 95 percent consider it unacceptable to send a text or email while driving.

Do you send text messages from your cellphone while driving? Does your state ban the practice?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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June 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

Thank you Roger R. (Read all the way down.) The police do type on computers and read their computer screens as they are driving, even on the expressway. I think texting should be outlawed everywhere, even by the police.

jack s.
June 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

use of cell phones in trucks or cars,or any moving vehicle should be banned complectly. Fine should at least 500.00.

June 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

I feel the car company need to design a system in the cars that when your car is in motion your cell phone wont work at all with calls or texting. and they should be able to be put in older cars and if you have them it should save you on your insurance. Then we don't have to worry about all these people who don't care about the law.

June 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

Responding to JoyceS. AMEN!!

June 28, 2013 at 8:02 am

Florida is not banning texting while driving. They are making it a secondary offense, meaning that if you're pulled over for something else and the police just happen to notice that you're also texting you'll get a $30 ticket. Whoopee. That will discourage exactly no one from texting while driving. If you're looking down at your phone and typing, you're paying about as much attention to driving as someone who is drunk and you should be treated accordingly. What the hell is so important that it can't wait until you get home or wherever you're going? Grow up people! When you're driving a car, drive the car, period.

June 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

Although I'm against texting or talking on a non hands free phone while driving, but what is the difference between talking on a hands free phone and talking to someone who is in a car while you're driving? Are we suggesting that it should be against the law to talk to anyone while in a car?

June 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Texting while driving any kind of moter-vehice SHOULD be banned in ALL states!

John Steele
June 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

As someone who drives as part of my job, I have been almost side-swiped more times than I can count, due to people who are looking down from the steering wheel at their phones ect., and not paying attention. I usually have to either sound the horn, or swerve or both,to avoid a collision. I personally have a blue-tooth and simply touch my earpiece to answer, and then pull off to the side of the road. That way, hopefully I won't be in an accident. I also see people resting their elbows on the window while talking and driving, this puts a blinder on everything on their left side. Comfortable but unsafe. I am totally in favor of banning texting and driving, completely. And if you can't use your phone safely it should be taken away from you while in the vehicle.

Tyger Kralin
June 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

and this will not affect driving accidents as it covers a far too small part of the problem. To say that texting is dangerous (and not include talking on a cell phone (hands free or not) is like saying BEER should be illegal to consume and drive but shots of vodka & driving are ok. It misses the point and takes too small of an action for a serious problem. Accidents are caused by DISTRACTED ATTENTION more than DISTRACTED EYES Ask anyone who's hit a mototrcycle, the first thing they say is... but I didn't see them.. when they're wearing and orange vest and right in front of them... The BRAIN is whats distracted you can drive without hands (though dangerous) but you can't drive without a brain (your attention) stop taking bribes from these cell phone companies and get with it. Make cell phone use of ANY KIND a DUI as many smart states already have.

June 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

With computers mounted permanently in their vehicle, law enforcement officers top the list of drivers that are texting and emailing while driving as well as filing incident reports and text chatting with other officers. They may be trained more extensively in driving, but they are still distracted. I call for law enforcement agencies to set an example and ban their officers from the practice, making them safer and more alert.