A bill in a New Hampshire House panel is intended to curb drivers’ text messaging in the state.
Sponsored by Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, the bill would ban drivers from reading, typing or sending text messages on an electronic wireless device, such as a BlackBerry. It also would ban playing video games while driving.
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.
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 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 slated for consideration in the House Transportation Committee Tuesday, Jan. 22.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor