More than 31 states have now enacted texting and driving laws and eight states, including D.C. and the Virgin Islands have laws prohibiting all drivers from using handheld devices while driving. The state of Delaware passed their law at the beginning of this year and have all ready handed out tickets to more than 2500 drivers.
In April the entire state of Delaware conducted a “one-day” concentrated effort to make everyone aware of the new law. Over 350 people were ticketed for violations in that one day campaign. A spokeswoman for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety says there have been 30 accidents due to drivers who were distracted by cell phones.
Thirty four states have added a cell phones and electronic equipment category to the crash data area on accident report forms for police officers. Surveys and research have shown that 25 percent of reported accidents are due to cell phones distracting the driver. Additionally, more than 38 percent of U.S. drivers say they have been hit or almost hit by a driver who was distracted by their phone.
A survey in 2009 shows that at that time, one-fifth of adult drivers admitted to sending text messages while driving. For every six seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds not looking at the road.
Under new legislation passed in Delaware, a driver who is ticketed on a first offense of using their cell phone (or other mobile device) can expect a $50 fine, plus all court costs and associated fees. Fines for repeat offenses go up to $100 and $200 dollars, plus all court costs. This driving violation does not cause a reduction on license points.