Issues: Texting and Driving

Mar 2, 2011 by

Issues: Texting and Driving

This past Tuesday, March 1st, HYA attended the first Senate hearing over House Bill 1129 – Use of telecommunications device while driving. The legislation seeks to make texting while driving a class C infraction, but it would also prohibit a police officer from confiscating the device, addressing a popular concern about similar bills. Proponents testified on the dangers of texting while driving. They cited research that has shown that texting while driving is far more dangerous than drunk driving. On the other hand, this bill presents unique challenges and raises a number of questions. What level of power do patrolmen have during traffic stops? What is the burden of proof? Can the courts subpoena cellular records?

By the end of the committee hearing, the bill was passed by a vote of 7/2 under the condition that a revision be made to include a ban on the use of ALL cellular devices while driving. We will continue to follow this legislation and others as they develop.

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