N.H. Debates $100 Fine for Text-Messaging While Driving

January 25, 2008

New Hampshire is debating making it illegal for drivers to send text messages on cell phones or type on laptop computers.

You still could talk on a cell phone while driving.

Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney told a House committee this week that state troopers see far too many people driving down the highway — particularly teenagers — paying absolutely no attention to their driving as they send and receive text messages.

Sweeney supported the bill and the $100 fine it would impose on offenders.

The state already has a law allowing police to ticket distracted drivers. But witnesses at the hearing said that law doesn’t do enough to address the serious risk of drivers using their knees to hold the wheel while they text-message on tiny phones or type on laptops.

Other states are considering similar bans, including Massachusetts. In a recent case there, a 13-year-old boy died, allegedly as a result of a man driving an SUV while text-messaging.

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