There's no denying that distracted driving is a serious issue. It's an issue that leads to thousands of lives lost and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year across this country. As one of the more prevalent distractions for motorists today, the trends of driving while texting are especially troubling. Our increasing dependence on mobile communications unfortunately parallels the increase of driver-distraction-related accidents.
Reinforcing the idea that driving while texting is an increasing problem, 34 states now have texting while driving laws on the books. New Hampshire's texting law, House Bill 34, which took effect January 1, 2010, is our attempt to curb these texting-while-driving trends locally.
Texting while driving facts
According to the “Distracted Driving 2009” report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSF):
- An estimated 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured due to distracted driving in 2009
- 20% of all automobile accident injuries in 2009 were due to distracted driving
- 18% of distracted-driving-related deaths were specifically due to cell phone use
- Between 2005 and 2009, the percentage of fatal accidents due to driver distraction rose from 10% to 16%
While statistics are sparse for texting-only distracted driving fatalities and injuries, research shows that distracted-driving incidents are on the rise, and that mobile-device usage contributes to a large number of those injuries and fatalities.
Consequences of breaking texting while driving laws in New Hampshire
Texting while driving laws vary from state to state. New Hampshire's law makes driving while texting a traffic violation punishable with a $100 fine. If you are arrested for texting while driving and cause an accident or injury, which can carry much-higher fines and the possibility of jail time, you would be wise to hire an attorney. To help keep the roads safer for everybody, and to save yourself from having to pay a traffic fine, it's a good idea to avoid texting until your vehicle is safely parked.