Will texting bills survive in North Dakota?

House representatives in North Dakota have presented two bills to put an end to texting while driving.  And as of this moment, the future seems unsure for both measures.

The Senate Transportation Committee reviewed House Bill 1195 and House Bill 1190.  HB 1190 would make distracted driving illegal in the state, as a secondary offense.  Violators would face a $100 fine.  HB 1195 would ban texting while driving and a violation would mean a $100 fine and two penalty points against a driver’s license for the first offense and 4 points for a second offense.  Accumulating 12 points in a 12 months period would mean a license suspension up to a year.

Many critics were made by members of the Senate Transportation Committee.  Some were unsure of the wording in the distracted driving bill.

“That could be a $100 fine for hesitating at a stoplight,” said Sen. Margaret Sitte.  “That seems way over the top to me.”

Others thought the consequences were too serious.

“I’m bothered by the idea that you can lose your license for a year.  That seems a bit overboard,” said Sen. Dave Oehlke.

In the end, both bills received a negative recommendation from the Committee.  It is now up to the full Senate to decide on the future of texting while driving in North Dakota.

Source: The Bismarck Tribune, March 25, 2011

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