OFF THE WIRE
Ron Lieback 11/10/2011
How many times have you witnessed drivers texting behind the wheel, not paying attention to anything on the road?
Texting while driving has become a major issue over the past few years, and many accidents are attributed to it on a daily basis.
But as this issue continues diverting driver's attention from the roads, more and more states are placing a legal ban on texting while driving.
And the lastest is Pennsylvania, which became the 35th state to ban texting while driving. The potentially lifesaving bill was signed into law Wednesday by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that the new law makes texting behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning that police can pull over motorists for that violation alone.
The law will go into affect in April 2012, and the fine is set at $50, the GHSA reports.
Upon hearing the news about a state to ban texting earlier this year, North Dakota, the American Motorcycle Association responded.
Peter terHorst (AMA Spokesman) says: "The American Motorcyclist Association is encouraged by the number of states taking action to penalize distracted driving activities such as texting while operating a motor vehicle.
"Distracted or inattentive driving has become a major concern to the motorcycling community. Motor vehicle operators engaged in these behaviors are not just a danger to motorcyclists - they endanger pedestrians, bicyclists, roadside assistance and emergency medical personnel, highway construction workers, and law enforcement personnel. The AMA acknowledges that motorcyclists share this responsibility as well.
"The AMA supports legislation that includes enhanced penalty options to be determined by the courts. Examples include enhanced fines, operator's license suspension, points assessed on an operator's record, community service, and imprisonment."
The first state to make the roads a bit safer for motorcyclists was Washington, which signed the texting ban into law in May, 2007. Since then, many states jumped on the safety trend.
But there are still 15 states to go. If you're a motorcyclist in one of these 15 states, there are ways to be heard. Log onto the rights' section of the AMA website to become active in ensuring not only your own safety, but the safety of every motorcycist riding in your state.
Following is a list of states where Texting While Driving is Illegal:
•Pennsylvania (April, 2012)
*D.C., Guam are also included in the texting ban