WASHINGTON, D.C. --- A new bill introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, July 29, seeks to ban motorists from texting or sending e-mail messages while driving, the Washington Post reported.
"Nobody was texting five years ago," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the bill's sponsors. "All of a sudden everybody is. It's both widespread and dangerous."
The bill would force states to pass laws to prohibit messaging in vehicles or risk losing 25 percent of their annual federal highway money, the Post reported. Federal legislators have used similar tactics to force states to pass seat-belt laws. The new legislation would also set deadlines for regulators at the U.S. Transportation Department to come up with minimum penalties for states to implement. States would have two years to enact their own laws.
Sponsors of the bill also include Democratic senators Robert Menendez (N.J.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.).
Already, the District of Columbia and 13 states have driver texting bans in place or scheduled to become effective this year.