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Submission + - National Ban Sought on Texting While Driving

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that states that do not ban texting by drivers could forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway funds under legislation introduced in the Senate. Under the measure, states would have two years to outlaw the sending of text and e-mail messages by drivers or lose 25 percent of their highway money each year until the money was depleted. "Studies show this is far more dangerous than talking on a phone while driving or driving while drunk, which is astounding," said New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, one of four Democratic senators to introduce the proposal. Currently, texting while driving is banned in 14 states, including Alaska, California and New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia. However the Governors Highway Safety Association, a group that represents state highway safety agencies in every state, opposes texting while driving but does not support the proposed legislation. "We oppose sanctioning states since there is not yet a proven effective method for enforcing a texting or cellphone ban," says association spokesman, Jonathan Adkins. Safety advocates respond that such concerns about enforcement were raised about seat belt laws but argued that the value of such laws — even if they could not be enforced all the time — created awareness about the issue and set societal guidelines for the behavior."

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