Friday, April 6, 2012
Contact: Karen Aldana, 202-366-9550
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today commended Idaho Governor Butch Otter and the Idaho Legislature for passing a new law that prohibits text messaging while driving and makes Idaho the 37th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers. The new law takes effect on July 1 and violators will be fined $85.
Idaho and 36 other states, the District of Columbia and Guam ban text messaging by all drivers. Ten states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.
"Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible decisions a person can make," said Secretary LaHood. "Idaho motorists will be safer because of the grass roots efforts of local families that helped raise awareness and Governor Otter’s decision to sign a tough texting ban into law."
In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. The Department launched Distraction.gov, a dedicated website that provides the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.
The Department has also hosted two national summits devoted to the issue, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department's successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.
In November 2010, the Department launched "Faces of Distracted Driving," a video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. To watch videos from the "Faces of Distracted Driving" series, and to learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation's campaign against distracted driving, visit Distraction.gov.