As has been reported, the anti-texting -while-driving issue we had previously noted is now the law. On November 4th, the Governor signed S204B which the Assembly passed last month after amending it so that the fines for violations would be $85, $100, $125 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd offenses respectively.
We know that enforcement is an issue, but the force of law does influence behavior over time as in seat-belt use. Parents can instruct their kids not to text while driving with more authority!
The issue of distracted driving will continue at the Assembly as some would like to ban all use of hands-on cell phones while driving. I expect the Bike Coalition will review any such bills. While all road users could be at risk from distracted driving, bicyclists and pedestrians, as more vulnerable users, are especially at risk. This is brought home by a page 1 story in the 11/12 South County Independent where in South Kingstown a pedestrian was struck (but fortunately is recovering) by a motorist who told police she was using her Blackberry, didn’t even know she struck someone and left the scene. Interesting that though the local police initially filed charges, they were later taken back pending what the Attorney General wants to do. We’ll see.
At any rate, I think the anti-texting bill is a good step forward and (in the name of the Greenways Alliance that formally endorsed the bill) I will thank the sponsor (Sue Sosnowski) and other leaders who ensured its passage.