So far, fewer than half the states in the U.S. currently have texting bans in place. (Specifically, there are 19 states that have instituted legislation outlawing the behavior.) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aims to change that. In fact, it wants to make texting and driving illegal all across the country.
To help streamline things for state legislators, the organization has created a legal framework that can used or adapted as a basis for state laws. The NHTSA proposes two major points:
(1) Drivers caught texting on a handheld should be fined $75 or more, in addition to whatever revocation or suspension of driving privileges are deemed fit.
(2) If there is a victim of an accident caused by texting and driving, the vehicle operator’s charges should be upgraded to felony status.
The purpose of the framework — which really just amounts to a customizable legislative template for state governments — is to enact change as easily and quickly as possible. (In that sense, it’s kind of like asking people to give you a letter of recommendation, then handing them a pre-typed form letter that they can just sign and date.)
What do you think? Are the NHTSA’s suggested penalties too stiff? Not stiff enough? In the end, what measures do you think it would take to get people to stop driving and texting? Sound off below.