Idaho, Alaska legislatures ban handheld texting while driving

Jill Dunn | April 19, 2012

While truckers nationwide already are prohibited from texting while driving, Idaho has become the 37th state to bar all motorists from doing so, and similar legislation awaits Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell’s signature.

On April 5, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed the bill that institutes an $85 fine against violators beginning July 1.

Parnell received the bill April 18 and is expected to sign it into law. In 2008, Alaska passed the ban, which carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and one year in jail. Last December, the state’s law department recommended clarifying the regulation because it does not explicitly mention texting.

Since 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s has prohibited commercial drivers from texting while driving, and last November, the agency also banned handheld cell phone use.

A 2010 Highway Loss Data Institute study of states actually indicated a slight increase in crashes after states approved these bans.

  • Gordon A

    When are these supposedly educated people going to learn that banning texting while driving is now making drivers doing it more unsafe while driving. Prior to the ban texting drivers would hold the unit up by the steering wheel and could see peripherally traffic around them. . Like keeping one eye on the text and the other on the road. Now however they have to hide the unit and now text while in the lap or on the seat. This takes the drivers eyes completely off the road for far too long. It is now more unsafe to be banned than matters not how many laws are imposed on the American people it will not stop them from texting. The LEO’s cannot see every vehicle , every driver and the drivers know it, and will continue texting with impunity until caught or are in an accident.
    Unfortunately the proponents of the ban have no clue about the real world at large and have no understanding about highway safety. They do not understand the real world of highway travel and only consider what comes up during a 3 martini lunch. I believe that many of these so called learned people are afraid to speak up because they are not sure of themselves so it goes on to be a unfavorable law or regulation. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.