Texting While Driving – The New DWI?

Posted by Ryan Russman | Oct 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

Over the last year more and more studies have shown that texting while driving can be extremely dangerous.  The visual distractions of text messaging can cause reckless driving and governments are now issuing new laws to target this problem.

In fact, the dangers of texting while driving have become so prevalent, texting laws are fast becoming as strong as DWI/DUI laws.  Many law enforcement officers believe that driving while texting impairs drivers in a way similar to intoxication.

New Hampshire passed a law banning texting while driving back in early August of this year.  While this is not the same as DWIs or DUIs, it's certainly a wake-up call for people who like to multi-task and text while they drive.  The details of these laws are also different than those for driving under the influence and it's important to take note of the rules, regulations, and potential consequences of these activities.

According to the NH texting law, any text messaging or typing (including on handheld or computers) while driving is considered a crime.  The law does, however, allow drivers to type names and numbers into their phones to make calls.

So how do the police no the difference?  In the event of an accident or other driving infringement, the officer is allowed to check the phone log provided the driver consents to a search warrant.

The New Hampshire texting law takes effect in January, 2010.

Other states have passed similar measures banning cell phones and texting.

Maine, for example, has just passed a distracted drivers law that covers texting.  Maine's law brings attention to the level of distraction by making it a traffic infraction and penalizes drivers who cause accidents while distracted.  Although texting has become the  heated issue, the law actually covers any distraction including talking on a cell phone, eating, or any other activity.

There's a push in Washington to get texting banned nationwide.

Whether it's talking on the phone, using the internet, texting, or messaging, more and more drivers are attempting to stay connected behind the wheel.  As a result of these distractions, more people are getting into accidents  and states are having to find ways to deal with this new problem.  So, as communication and technology become increasingly more accessible, it's easy to see how laws are quickly catching up with the growing trend.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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