Distracted Driving Laws: The Not-So United States

Posted on: December 20th, 2015 by admin
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Distracted Driving Laws: The Not-So United States

Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any other activity while driving a vehicle, including using a cell phone or some other electronic device. Federal government statistics paint a grim picture, with more than 3,100 people killed and another 424,000 injured in 2013, the most recent year such data was available. The individual states enact and oversee motor vehicle laws, thus you must follow different distracted driving laws as you travel the country.

Distracted Driving Essentials

Electronic devices and cell phones are the most easily recognized ways to become distracted while driving. But the federal government looks at anything that can detract from your visual, manual and cognitive attention, and includes some additional factors.

Such factors include: eating while driving, talking to passengers, personal grooming, adjusting the audio system, using a navigation system, watching a video and map reading. Texting while driving may be the most egregious distraction of all as it takes your full attention away from the road and places it on the device.

State Law Overview

In all, 14 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands expressly outlaw the use of hand-held devices while driving. This provision covers all drivers regardless of age. However, no states forbid drivers from using hands-free devices, including Bluetooth-enabled and voice-activated smart phones according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration.

Novice drivers, typically identified as first-time teenage drivers, have further restrictions placed on them in 38 states as well as in the District of Columbia. Under no circumstance may a novice driver use a cell phone, including a hands-free enabled device, while operating a motor vehicle. As for school bus drivers operating in the line of duty, 20 states and the District of Columbia forbid cell phone use.

The strongest distracted driving laws cover texting while driving. Every district, territory and 46 states prohibit text messaging while driving for all drivers. However, Arizona only forbids this practice for its school bus drivers. Furthermore, Texas and Missouri only prohibit texting by novice drivers, and Montana alone has yet to forbid texting while driving.

Across the board, police officers may stop motorists for cell phone use while driving as a primary enforcement. This means officers do not need any other reason for stopping violators, such as for speeding.

See more…. http://knowhow.napaonline.com/distracted-driving-laws-the-not-so-united-states/

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