Senate May Move to Ban Texting While Driving
The legislation follows the familiar example of previous federal laws raising the minimum drinking age, requiring seat-belt use, and imposing a 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. In order to regulate automotive-safety issues like these that are clearly within the authority of the individual states, Congress resorts to an indirect route, telling the states that unless they enact the laws that Congress wants, federal funding for highway projects will be withheld.
The states may not like being told what to do in this manner, but courts have made clear that such actions are constitutional, allowing the federal government to impose national regulations relating to road safety.
And in this case, Congress can point to lots of recent news to justify its actions. Recent mass-transit accidents like May's Boston T collision have been blamed on texting operators. (Senator Schumer has introduced separate legislation this week specifically addressing mass transit and texting). And this week the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute published a study indicating that texting truck drivers are 23 times more likely to have accidents. All this leaves the public fairly receptive to having Congress try to impose texting bans.
A nationwide texting-while-driving ban would augment bans already in place in 14 states, plus the District of Columbia.
- Bill Seeks to Ban Texting By Drivers (Washington Post)
- Accused texting T driver rails against charge (Boston Herald)
- Cell Phone Driving Laws (chart by Governors Highway Safety Association)
- Reckless Driving (provided by The Law Offices of Ferrer and Associates)
- Vehicle Accident Basics (provided by Hammett Bellin & Oswald LLC)
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