Delaware enacts texting law

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a new anti-distraction law that bans drivers in the state from using hand-held cell phones while driving and sets strict penalties for texting behind the wheel.

Delaware is the 30th state to ban texting while driving.

The new law creates a comprehensive statewide restriction on handheld cell phone use. The measure also prohibits drivers from text messaging, sending or reading e-mails or browsing websites while a vehicle is in motion. Under the law, the first offense carries a penalty of $50. A second offense carries a fine of $100 to $200. The law is primary, meaning police can stop drivers if they suspect a violation of this law alone.

According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in distracted driving crashes nationwide. The highest proportion of those crashes involved teen drivers, and a total of 659 teens were killed in distracted driving-related crashes.

For more information on distracted driving and the Department of Transportation’s work, visit