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A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest…

…the driver also had a suspended license, so not exactly arrested only for texting.

Source: Union Leader (New Hampshire)

A Massachusetts man may be the first person in the state to be arrested for texting behind the wheel, which became illegal Jan. 1.

Lt. Gary Fisher said Stephen Judd, 20, of Dracut, Mass., was texting on his phone while traveling down Bridge Street on Monday morning, in plain sight of an officer. Officers later learned Judd was driving with a suspended license, he said…

…”It might be a possible deterrent and put some common sense in the driver’s head,” Drisko said. “Hopefully, it does. It is going to be in the next decade that you might see it be a nationwide federal law, because states all across are popping it in. It’s going to become a national issue.”

…”We’ve got to get the message out that this is a serious highway safety issue,” Adkins said. “It’s hard to enforce. It’s a habit. Kids see their parents doing it, it’s something a lot of teens have been raised on, watching Mom and Dad texting, but the best message is simply hang up and drive.”

The federal government has previously banned texting-while-driving for all federal employees, and in January of this year extended that ban to cover commercial truck and bus drivers.

Last year a study released by VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” (Source: SafeTeens.com)

A recently released study (PDF) by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” As per talking on a cell phone, the same study found no increased risk for truck drivers and 1.3 times the risk for car drivers. There was considerably more risk associated with dialing while driving. The institute’s Richard Hanowski acknowledges that the numbers are likely to be different with car drivers. As reported by CNET’s Jennifer Guevin, the study also found that “texting took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds–enough time…to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph.”

Many states have laws already banning texting-while-driving, and the trend seems to be spreading as awareness of the danger spreads.

What do you think about texting-while-driving laws? What about broader distracted driving laws that may impact your use of any gadget that takes your attention from the road? Add you comment here, or join the conversation over at our Facebook page.

Comments

3 Responses to “A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest…”

  1. Tweets that mention A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest… « Fuelishness! Fuel Economy Blog -- Topsy.com on April 8th, 2010 4:26 PM

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DriveSafe.ly, Doc Miles. Doc Miles said: A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest… http://goo.gl/fb/p5Wox […]

  2. 11B40 on April 8th, 2010 4:51 PM

    Greetings:

    1) Be skeptical of all statistics that contain the word “or” in their definition, as in a “crash or near-crash event”. Big difference between those two, why no separate numbers?

    2) Part of the licensing problem is the is it a right or a privilege question. Driving is so much a part of our culture that courts are hesitant to remove licenses or punish bad drivers effectively. The privilege aspect is not upheld for chronic bad drivers.

  3. Auto Insurance in Iowa on May 6th, 2010 12:10 PM

    Iowa has just enacted a ban on texting while driving that goes into effect on July 1st. For the first year, officers will just be issuing warnings rather than tickets, which takes some of the sting out of the law, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

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