Meridian Star

New Today

January 7, 2013

Lawmakers to again mull texting while driving ban


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State Sen. Billy Hudson again plans a proposal to ban texting while driving.

The Hattiesburg Republican told The Clarion-Ledger that his proposed bill would also ban cellphone use unless a hands-free device is used.

Hudson said his bill, to be considered by the 2013 Legislature, would ban all mobile phone use by drivers younger than 18. Last year, a bill Hudson introduced died in committee.

Hudson said he wants the cellphone bill because it would be difficult for law enforcement to enforce a ban only on texting.

"We need to do something to protect people," he said. "We are losing too many people."

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain says he was unfamiliar with Hudson's proposal, but he said the department favors proposals to improve road safety. Strain says inattentive driving is the leading cause of traffic accidents.

Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas have laws that ban only young drivers with learners permits from texting while driving. Six other states don't prohibit anyone from texting while driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board has urged states to ban all driver use of cellphones and other electronic devices, except in emergencies.

A 2011 NHTSA survey found nearly 90 percent of drivers have cellphones — a rate reflected in most ages and all income levels. The agency reviewed the rates at which drivers had used those phones while behind the wheel.

"Sending text messages or emailing while driving, while less frequent than talking on a cellphone while driving, was still quite high," according to NHTSA's report, which was the first national phone survey on distracted driving.

Mississippi now prohibits school bus drivers and those with learner's permits or intermediate licenses from text messaging while driving.

Hudson said he expects there will some bills filed this year that will seek only a ban on texting.

His proposal wouldn't apply to someone communicating with law enforcement, an emergency responder or E911 operator, a hospital, physician's office or health clinic.

A violation would be a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. If the violation led to a motor vehicle accident, the maximum fine would go up to $1,000 in addition to any other fines or penalty.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger,


Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today

Do you think the city of Meridian should aggressively enforce the city's code enforcement laws on litter, abandoned homes and overgrown lots by issuing tickets and stiff fines?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide