WASHINGTON - Kentucky and Nebraska join 21 other states in banning text messaging by all drivers, effective summer 2010, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood applauded Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman for signing anti-texting-while-driving bills into law for all drivers in their states. In Kentucky, the new law also prohibits drivers under 18 from using cell phones behind the wheel at any time. In Nebraska, state law already forbids teen drivers with provisional licenses, learner's permits, or school permits from texting or talking on cell phones.
Nebraska became the 22nd state to ban texting for all drivers. Under the ban, texting while driving is a secondary offense which allows law enforcement officials to ticket drivers if they are pulled over for another offense.
Kentucky is the 23rd state to ban texting for all drivers. The new law prohibits texting while driving for drivers of all ages, except in the case of an emergency. The law is stricter for drivers under 18, who may not text or talk on cell phones behind the wheel.
NHTSA has developed sample legislation that states can use as a starting point s to craft measures to ban texting. The sample bill is patterned after President Obama's Oct.1, 2009 Executive Order prohibiting federal employees from texting while operating government-owned vehicles and equipment. Last year, more than 200 distracted driving bills were under consideration by state legislatures, and the pace is expected to increase this year.
For more information on distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.