New Hampshire House approves bill to ban on-road texting

| 4/22/2008

A bill halfway through the New Hampshire statehouse is intended to curb drivers’ text messaging in the state.

The state’s House voted 176-149 to advance a bill to the Senate that would forbid text-messaging or any form of typing that requires both hands. Sponsored by Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, the bill would not prohibit reading text messages.

Violators would face $100 fines.

Hands-free devices wouldn’t be included in the ban. Of particular interest to truckers, the bill would make exceptions for Qualcomm-type devices.

Emergency calls also would be exempted.

Attempts to curb the practice of using the devices while driving have picked up steam following the release of a Nationwide Mutual Insurance survey that found one in five drivers “texting” while driving. That number nearly doubles for drivers aged 18 to 27.

New Hampshire law already prohibits negligent driving. The ban covers any driving behavior that could result in injury to others or property damage. However, it doesn’t specifically address the use of cell phones and other devices while at the wheel.

If approved, New Hampshire would become only the third state – New Jersey and Washington – to restrict text messaging while driving.

Campbell’s bill – HB1222 – is in the Senate Transportation and Interstate Cooperation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor