Several cities are responding to what they view as lax state legislation by passing their own distracted driving laws. Three states in the nation still allow texting while driving and only 16 have adopted hands-free laws, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Glendale, Arizona is a case in point. Arizona does not currently have a statewide ban on texting while driving, so Glendale city council members took matters into their own hands. The council recently passed an ordinance stating that drivers can be pulled over for using a cellphone even if stopped at a red light, reports ABC News.
Now, if caught using a cell phone behind the wheel, Glendale motorists face stiff penalties — as high as $250.
Meanwhile, Battle Creek, Mich., recently banned the use of cell phones behind the wheel, reports the Grand Valley Lanthorn. Starting on Feb. 15, motorists in the city found handling a cellphone can get pulled over, despite whether or not they are texting.
While Michigan's state law bans texting while driving, it leaves ample room for drivers to engage in other cellphone manipulation — for example, using GPS, making calls, and switching music playlists.
Violators of Battle Creek's new hands-free law will be fined $100 for the first offense and $200 for subsequent violations, notes the report.
Distracted driving remains a serious concern nationwide. In a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 80% of motorists said they have talked on their phone while driving in the past 30 days, with 30% reporting that they do it on a daily basis. Moreover, 38% of those surveyed admitted to reading emails or texts while driving and 33% said they sent emails or texts.
Presently, no state in the nation bans all cell phone use for drivers, but 38 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice drivers, according to the GHSA.