North Dakota passes ban on texting while driving
May 02, 2011
In an effort to curb distracted driving and excessive auto insurance claims, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple last week signed into law legislation that makes North Dakota the 31st state to outright ban texting while driving.
Beginning August 1, drivers of all ages will be prohibited from texting behind the wheel, although the law stops short of banning motorists from using a handheld cell phone at all while driving. Currently, only eight states as well as the District of Columbia ban drivers from using handheld cell phones behind the wheel.
Even so, North Dakota's law was the step in the right direction, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"North Dakota has taken an important step to eliminate distracted driving," said Secretary LaHood. "Thanks to the bill signed today by Governor Dalrymple, North Dakota roads will be safer for everyone."
On the same day, Dalrymple also signed into law new legislation that would require more stringent licensing requirements of young drivers. Among other things, that law extended the learner's permit period from six months to a full year for drivers under the age of 15.