While many states have willingly banned texting while driving (TWD), the stragglers may soon be required to do so as well. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) unveiled new legislation that will ban anyone from texting on a cell phone or other personal electronic device while operating a moving vehicle.
The senators’ bill—known as the Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers Act (“ALERT Drivers” Act)—would require states to bar the sending of text or e-mail messages while operating a car or truck, or else risk losing federal highway funds. Within six months of the bill’s passage, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish minimum penalties that must be contained within the state law. States then have two years to pass compliant bans or risk losing 25% of their annual federal highway finding per year that they fail to comply with the law. States that comply after the two-year deadline can retroactively recover lost highway funds.
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