Texing, hand held use and driving legislation by state

I’m new to distracted driving community and was surprised to see the number of states that are reluctant to pass bans on hand held use while driving. The second map is most telling and demonstrates a need for public education campaigns to begin changing driver behaviors.

Texting bans by state as of April 2010

Texing bans by state -- April 2010

Cell phone bans by state

Hand held bans by state -- April 2010

Having a strong law on the books gives groups like ours additional  leverage to reach the public. Teens Against Distracted Driving was fortunate enough to be founded in Washington state, one of the seven states that has a ban on all hand held devices,  for all drivers. Thanks to the vision of Seattle attorney Jason Epstein, our group of dedicated students are even afforded some resources to educate the public on this deadly behavior before our hand held law takes effect June 10.

But what about all those gray states in the hand held ban map above? Passing a law won’t change behavior overnight and the task of educating the public and changing the behaviors of friends, neighbors and family in each state will rely on individuals and groups with few resources. My hope is that Teens Against Distracted Driving’s public education campaign can  be a model for groups in states that are slower to pass legislation, but still have dedicated community groups working on the cause.

We’ll be documenting our campaign as we create it and are quite interested in the past experiences and best practices of groups that have already  begun to tackle this tremendous task.