Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council congratulates the North Dakota legislature on passage of two bills that will limit cell phone use while driving, and commends North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple for signing both bills. North Dakota joins 30 other states with texting bans for all drivers with House Bill 1195, a lifesaving measure which prohibits texting behind the wheel. House Bill 1256 prohibits young drivers from using cell phones while driving, making North Dakota the 30th state to implement this lifesaving law for its teen drivers. Both bills will help eliminate the dangerous behavior of using cell phones while driving and make North Dakota roadways safer.
HB 1195 makes composing, reading and sending an electronic message illegal. NSC estimates at least 100,000 crashes each year can be attributed to texting, and research shows texting while driving increases crash risk anywhere from 8 to 23 times. Texting is a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires a driver to remove their hands from the wheel, their eyes from the road and their minds from the task of driving safely. According to a 2010 survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 9 in 10 drivers say that text messaging or emailing while driving is a very serious threat to their personal safety – yet one in four drivers admit to reading or sending a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days.
HB 1256 prohibits drivers under age 18 from using electronic communication devices, including cell phones. Young drivers are most likely to use cell phones and have the highest proportion of distracted driving-related fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Almost half of teen drivers admitted to talking on cell phones in the 2010 National Young Driver Survey, and nearly the same amount – 51 percent – said a law against the dangerous behavior would influence them to stop using the phone while driving.
“The National Safety Council is pleased North Dakota recognized the need to protect its motorists,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We hope the 11 states that currently do not have texting laws will realize the importance of this legislation and take steps to protect their roadways. We also hope states that do not currently ban cell phone use for teen drivers will recognize the many lives that could be saved with such a prohibition."
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Learn more about distracted driving at distracteddriving.nsc.org.