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Verizon Joins the Push Against Driving While Texting

For most people, refraining from texting while driving a car or any other vehicle seems like common sense. Unfortunately, as The Online Mom has previously reported, driving while texting (DWT) is all too common among the younger, multi-tasking generation. In response – and in the wake of some well-publicized tragedies where it is believed texting played a role – many states are enacting or considering laws to ban both reading and sending texts while driving.

So far, twelve states have passed laws prohibiting DWT, including five this year. Another 21 states are considering similar legislation.

It’s not just concerned parents and law enforcement officials that are supporting DWT laws. Recently Verizon Wireless, one of the largest cell phone carriers, announced plans to lobby for legislation in additional states. Representatives of the company will speak publicly and meet with legislators and other government officials around the country to press the case for texting bans. Such tactics helped California pass its DWT legislation in January of this year.

Many states, like Massachusetts, reacted after suffering texting-related tragedies. The Massachusetts vote took place just two weeks after a 24-year-old trolley operator told authorities he was texting his girlfriend when he missed a red light and slammed into another stationary trolley, injuring almost 50 people. Interestingly, the Boston Globe reported that similar legislation had been presented to the Massachusetts Senate last year but that key senators argued at the time that they didn’t want to legislate against stupidity!

Verizon Wireless and others in the cell phone industry hope that the new laws will prevent such accidents in the future. “We believe that when your focus is away from the task at hand, which is driving, you need to pull off the side of the road to make your phone call or take your text,” said Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, a Washington-based group that represents the wireless industry. “Since December 2007, CTIA has agreed that there should be a ban on texting and driving.”

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