Unless you’ve had your head in the sand over the past 4 or 5 years, you’re probably tired of hearing how dangerous texting and driving is. We’re all well aware that it has quickly become a leading cause of car accidents and auto-related fatalities. So? Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, we’ve known that for 30 years, yet people are still smoking. Sure you say you’re all about safe driving and you claim that you don’t text and drive, but how truthful are you being to yourself? You’re still glancing at your phone now and then when you hear that little notification tone. Maybe you didn’t respond, but you still looked away from the road. Do you text with kids in the car? Let’s not even go there.
Rather than just provide another reminder of the dangers of texting and driving, this article will serve as a notice of what’s happening and what you can do to help the war on texting and driving.
On September 30th, 2010, Massachusetts passed a law making it illegal to use a mobile phone or other handheld devices to compose, send or read electronic messages while behind the wheel. What most drivers may not know is that the ban includes these activities while at stop signs and red lights, too.
- Drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones, even with hands-free devices, at all.
- If a driver is caught texting while driving, the penalties include:
- First offense: $100 fine
- Second offense: $250 fine
- Third and subsequent offense: $500 fine
- Drivers under 18 will also face license suspensions for violations
For a summary of the new law, click here.
Massachusetts is not the only state passing anti-texting laws. In 2010 the following states all passed legislation regarding texting and/or distracted driving:
But are these laws doing anything? It may still be too early to tell if any of this new legislation has had a positive impact on the texting and driving epidemic.
The simplest solution to the problem may in fact be anti-texting applications that are available for download from various app developers. The number of anti-texting applications available is growing every day, yet most of them share one common thread, most involve the disabling texting features when the phone is moving beyond a certain speed.
A leading developer of anti-texting applications is Oakland, California based Location Labs. In addition to other location-based products, Location Labs has provided the first carrier-based solution to fight texting and driving. Their products and many other similar applications can disable texting and calling while driving, send auto-response messages informing the caller that they are unavailable to receive calls or messages. The software also allows for certain overrides and parental controls.
To learn more about these programs check out Location Labs. You can also search the app market on your smart phone or I-Phone for anti-texting applications.
In additions to these great new applications, be sure to check out Arbella Mutual’s “Distractology 101” website. It has a great deal of information on distracted driving and includes some fun interactive tools to help you test your aversion to distraction. Click here to check it out!
Remember, yours is not the only life you put at risk when you drive distracted.