Texting while driving, by Flickr user ericathompsonEnlarge Photo
Come this Thursday, March 8, Pennsylvania will be the latest state with an all-driver texting ban that goes into effect. The tally so far: 35 states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have laws prohibiting drivers from texting behind the wheel. That leaves 15 states still to go.
Or, rather, that leaves eight states as total holdouts. There are seven states with partial texting bans: Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. These latter states ban texting by novice drivers.
Texting while drivingEnlarge Photo
States Not Budging
Among the states still holding the line on refusing to ban texting while driving are: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota.
Delving into what’s going on in some of these holdout states proves enlightening, to say the least.
There is some action underway in state legislatures to at least consider anti-texting laws yet this year. In Florida, the Senate passed a texting ban in February and if passed by the House (where similar measures have died two years in a row), the law would go into effect October 1, 2012.
In Montana, while a statewide ban on driver texting and use of handheld cell phones was rejected in 2011, some cities have enacted texting bans. The most recent is Bozeman, whose law went into effect January 17, 2012. Other Montana cities with driver texting bans include Billings, Missoula and Helena.
Idaho and South Carolina have distracted in/on vehicle list and distracted/inattentive attributes as contributing factors, respectively.
Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio and South Dakota have no current driver texting ban legislation.
See the current map of states with texting bans here, on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) site.
Learn more about how texting is a dangerous form of distracted driving on Distraction.gov.