Ohio Enacts Texting While Driving Laws With Stricter Punishments For Teens

Starting last Friday, Ohio motorists caught texting while driving became subject to fines, while drivers under 18 potentially face license suspensions. Ohio had already enacted a six-month grace period during which drivers were issued warnings, but now the practice is a minor misdemeanor, although it is only a secondary offense for adults. Secondary means that it becomes a violation if a driver is stopped for another traffic offense, so that they can then be cited for both violations. For drivers under 18 however, the practice is a stand alone ticket-able offense.

Many municipalities already had stricter anti-texting laws on the books, which they may continue to enforce. For example, Wauseon forbids all drivers from sending and receiving text messages. Ohio is the 38th state to criminalize texting while driving and the first state to take every cell phone, computer, or other wireless device out of teen drivers’ hands. The only exception allows for the use of navigational devices as long as teens don’t use their hands to reprogram them while driving.

Adult violators of the new law face a fine of up to $150 for a first offense, while minors face a fine and a 60-day license suspension. Subsequent offenders are subject to $300 fines and a one-year license suspension.

Text Kills supports laws that prohibit the deadly practice of texting while driving and seek to make the roads safer for everybody. While the laws are harsher on teen drivers than adult drivers, this is due to the tragic fact that more young drivers are getting into accidents and dying as a result of texting while driving. Although the penalties may seem severe, the results of texting while driving can prove much more severe. We hope that someday soon every state will enact similar laws to help curb distracted driving and save lives, especially those of our youth.

For more on this story, click here.

Its Not Too Late To UNPLUG

As of Midnight last night, we were all asked to unplug our smart devices on National Day of Unplugging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you unplugged to Drive!  :-)

Woman Educates Youth On Consequences Of Distracted Driving

In May 2008, Jaci Good’s life was turned upside down by a distracted driver. A 30 ton 18 wheeler hit her family car after an 18-year-old ran a red light while talking on his cell phone. Both of her parents died, while Good broke nearly every bone in her body, her organs were punctured, and she suffered a brain injury. As a result of the accident, she was forced to relearn how to talk, walk, and remember.

But Good has chosen to try to take her personal tragedy and use it as a way of educating youth and preventing such accidents. She visits students to share her story and encourage them to just “hang up and drive.”

“No one needs to stand in my shoes,” says Good. “I have felt more pain than anyone should feel in their lifetime and no one else should go through that. What happened to me is 100 percent preventable.”

Text Kills agrees that distracted driving accidents are entirely preventable, which is why we also try to educate the youth about the dangers of distracted driving and get them to take the pledge not to text and drive. Whether it’s talking or texting, using a phone while driving can prove deadly and makes the roads unsafe for everybody. We commend Ms. Good on her strength through adversity and her work in making the roads safer for us all.

Don’t forget to hang up and drive, and remember that Text Kills.

Tragic Figures: Teenage Driver Fatalities Up By 17%

Recently released statistics indicate that deaths amongst teenage drivers are up. This sobering data shows that teenagers are still the group that is most at risk for fatal accidents on the road, whether they be due to distracted driving or other factors. While these statistics are alarming, they only renew our dedication to combating distracted driving and making those roads safer for all of us. We hope that our work will contribute in some way toward saving teen lives, as there is nothing more tragic than a life cut short by preventable causes.

From Governors Highway Safety Association:

Preliminary data indicate deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers are up 19 percent between the first six months of 2011 and the first six months of 2012. The data was provided by GHSA members, who were surveyed in late 2012. All 50 states and the District of Columbia responded to the survey. This report analyzes the data provided.

If the final 2012 data follows this trend, then 2012 would be the second year in a row of increases in teen driver deaths, following eight years of decline. (GHSA had predicted the 2011 increase in teen driver deaths in a similar report last year).

The recent increase in teen driver deaths is presumably related to the partial economic recovery that has taken place, leading to more teens on the road and greater exposure to risk. Another possible explanation is that fewer states have been strengthening their Graduated Driver Licensing systems in recent years.

Renewed efforts to achieve further reductions in teen driver deaths include: strengthening GDL systems (and improving compliance with existing provisions); improved driver education and training programs; scientifically-based evaluation of the many programs addressing young drivers; and concentration of resources on those shown to have positive effects.

For more on this story, including data graphs, go here.

Minnesota Needs Your Help To Stand Up Against Bullying!

Bullying has become such a huge problem that most states have laws on the books dealing with the issue. However, many of these laws do not seem to be enough, as in the case of Minnesota, which has received national attention due to having one of the shortest and weakest bullying prevention laws in the country. In fact, it is only 37 words long, and doesn’t even define bullying or outline a process for how schools should handle bullying. As a result, many school districts have set up different interpretations of the law, which has led to less punishment of bullies and many students feeling unsafe or even committing suicide in extreme cases.

For these reasons, the state’s School Bullying Prevention Task Force has outlined a plan of action for the governor and state legislature to use in order to enact and enforce more effective across-the-board laws. There are 7 main recommendations that they have made:

1. Strong and Effective Minnesota Statute: Submit a bill to enact a strong, specific anti-bullying policy directive for school districts.

2. Supportive Schools: Encourage prevention education for all students, staff, family and community.

3. Student, Family and Community Engagement and Collaboration

4. Formative Interventions and Discipline: Encourage graduated, supportive, formative and restorative discipline, in addition to formal discipline.

5. State Agency Support to School Districts: Establish a cross-agency collaboration council and a School Climate Center at the Minnesota Department of Education to provide technical assistance to districts and communities.

6. Accountability and Data: Ensure accountability and monitoring of the state’s progress toward ensuring a safe learning environment for all students.

7. Funding for Effective Implementation.

Text Kills applauds them for their effort and agrees with the need to enact clearer, more effective laws that can save lives. Do you agree with them? If you do, then please take a moment to sign their petition here. 

Bullying effects all it comes in contact with in a negative way. What do you think: Should we have laws at the federal level dealing with the issue of bullying? What should the punishments should be for bullying? Do you see a difference in severity between physical bullying and cyber- or text-bullying? Let us know in the comments section.

Please visit the Bully Buster USA Facebook page for more information on bullying and to show your support for anti-bullying policies.

Should Police Officers Be Allowed To Text And Drive?

A recent study of more than 2.4 million collision reports recorded by the California Highway Patrol from 2006-2011 found that at least 1053 crashed were caused by emergency vehicle drivers during that period. That’s 14.6 crashes each month in California caused by a distracted driver behind the wheel of an ambulance, fire truck, or law enforcement vehicle. The majority of these crashes involved law enforcement (local police officers or CHP drivers).

While there is a hands-free law in effect in California that prohibits using one’s hands to text or talk while driving, emergency personnel and law enforcement successfully lobbied for an exemption to this law while on duty. Although some departments enact their own rules to limit the use of cellphones amongst officers while on duty, not all do. For example, Oakland Police Department, which is one of the largest departments in the Bay Area, has no such restrictions in place. The issue is also complicated by the fact that officers are equipped with radios, cellphones, GPS devices, radar, and laptops in their cruisers that can all lead to distracted driving.
The problem for officers lies in finding a balance between being able to perform their duties (which may include using such devices) and driving safely.

There is also the question of whether officers should be exempt from the laws they themselves are supposed to enforce. Unfortunately, distracted driving does not differentiate between officers and civilians when it comes to accidents, and the results prove just as devastating. A good solution may be to require officers to ride in pairs so that the passenger can worry about handling all of the electronic equipment, which would leave the driver free to focus on driving.

This is a very complicated issue, but one that needs to be addressed so that the roads can be made safer for everyone, officer and civilian alike. Do you have a solution to this problem? Let us know about it!

To read more about this story, click here.

Text Kills® At SDG&E 2013 Employee Health And Safety Fair

Text Kills® was proud to be part of the 2013 SDG&E and Sempra Energy Employee Health and Safety Fair in San Diego. The event featured many booths that dealt with health, safety, and fitness. It really goes to show how SDG&E cares about their employees. Text Kills® was featured at the event, and helped spread awareness about the dangers of Texting While Driving, Texting While Walking, and Distracted Driving, which are all very important issues to be aware of at the work place. For more information on bringing the Text Kills® team to your corporate event, email us at textkills@gmail.com. A special thanks to Geneveve Bucsit and the events team for putting on such a great event!

Think Cyberbullying And Text-Bullying Aren’t As Dangerous As Physical Bullying? Think Again!

A recent study proves what Text Kills has been saying all along: cyberbullying and text-bullying are just as harmful as physical bullying.

A research team led by a Michigan State University professor found that children who faced “cyberbullies” or were bullied through their cellphone (text-bullying) were just as likely to skip school or think about suicide as kids who were picked on in person. This study is very important in shaping the public discourse around bullying, and shows the necessity of taking all forms of bullying into account when shaping anti-bullying policies and procedures. Indeed, bullying isn’t just occurring on the schoolyard anymore, but is happening everywhere because of the proliferation of the internet and mobile devices.

The research team analyzed survey data collected from more than 3,000 children in grades 3 through 11 in Singapore. The study revealed 22 percent of the students who were physically bullied skipped school or at least thought about not going. By comparison, 27 percent of the students questioned who were victims of a cyberbully, either through email, online blog, or chatroom, did the same.

The study also found that 28 percent of those who were bullied through text messages on their cellphones also skipped school or thought about skipping school.

Of the students who were physically bullied, the study showed 22 percent thought about suicide, compared to 28 percent of those who were cyberbullied. The researchers pointed out 26 percent of those who were bullied through their cellphone also considered suicide.

Based on these numbers, it seems as if cyberbullying and text-bullying may actually be having more of a negative effect than physical bullying. Why could this be? Perhaps one reason is that text-bullying and cyberbullying can be more persistent: While physical bullying may be relegated to school hours, text-bullying and cyberbullying can occur around the clock, just as long as the target is accessing their cellphone or the internet.

While technology may have given bullies a new means of attacking their victims, it can also prove beneficial in monitoring and stopping this behavior. Thomas Holt, an associate professor of criminal justice, strongly suggests “careful supervision of youth activity online, including the use of filtering software, (which) can help reduce the likelihood that the child is targeted by bullies via the Web.”

Text Kills agrees that technology can be used to combat text and cyberbullies. WordBully, a smartphone application by Iconosys, Inc., helps parents to filter for bullying behavior and words by monitoring their children’s smartphones. While it is unfortunate that we live in a time where such things are necessary, putting the power into parents’ hands to keep their children safe is of the utmost importance. And of course, Don’t Be A Bully!

For more information on the Bully Buster smartphone app, visit www.wordbully.net

Text Kills® Featured On KX 93.5 FM!

Text Kills representative Ryan Foland joined Laguna Beach’s only FM radio station last Friday for a special event at Laguna Beach High School. He discussed Text Kills and the upcoming K-JAM Wild Hearts Concert live on the air. In case you missed it, you can check out the full interview below!

Public Safety Or Micromanagement?

Most states understand that texting while driving is a potentially deadly practice and have enacted laws making it illegal. However, it is still perfectly legal to text, talk on the phone, and surf the web while driving in eleven states, including Texas. While state legislators have been proposing bills to ban texting and driving for several years now, they have not been successful. In fact, state governor Rick Perry vetoed such a bill just a few weeks ago, even though it passed the senate. He criticized the bill because he believed it would “micromanage the behavior of adults.”

With all due respect, Governor Perry is incorrect in his reasoning. Laws are, by definition, mechanisms of altering individual behavior for the greater good of society. We have laws that prohibit drinking and driving because people who are drunk prove dangerous behind the wheel. Are such laws “micromanaging?” Of course they aren’t. Such laws exist as a means of trying to prevent destructive individual behaviors that can negatively affect others. And make no mistake about it, texting while driving can prove negative, even deadly, in its effects: In Texas alone, more than 400 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2011.

People like Rick Perry often oppose rational, realistic legal safeguards based on the principle of personal liberty. They claim that laws dictating what people can and can not do infringe upon personal liberties and, therefore, are unconstitutional. While this may seem sound in theory, in practice it couldn’t be further from the truth. These “personal liberties” aren’t so personal when you take into account all of the people harmed and killed by distracted drivers (3,311 fatalities in the US in 2011). This is an issue of public safety, not personal liberty, and should be treated as such, with laws being written accordingly.

Text Kills advocates the making of laws to ban texting and driving nationwide. We stand in solidarity with the many families of victims of texting and driving who gathered at Texas’ state capitol to convince lawmakers of the need to ban the practice by sharing their stories. We hope that politicians like Rick Perry will join us in the belief that texting while driving is bad practice and should be illegal—for everybody’s sake.

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It’s Shamefully Legal To Text And Kill In These States:


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