Texting while driving becomes illegal in Nebraska tomorrow as a new state law takes effect. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Nebraska, says that form of thumb-typed communication via mobile device is extremely dangerous and the new statewide ban will apply to every motorist.
“We’re in full support of a text ban across the nation, in fact, 27 states have passed it, along with the District of Columbia and we’re hoping the other 23 states get on board,” Weinholzer says. “Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous distraction.”
A federal study finds texting while driving was responsible for nearly six-thousand deaths and a half-million injuries nationwide last year. Weinholzer says studies have also found that people who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to be involved in crashes than non-distracted drivers.
“When you’re driving down the road at 50, 60 miles an hour, if you’re on the interstate, you’re making decisions the entire time as it applies to other cars and speeds and exits and merging vehicles,” Weinholzer says. “You really need to be focused on the act of driving and not being distracted by texting.”
Violators face a $200 fine the first time they’re caught texting and driving. Second offense is $300, while a third offense brings a $500 fine and three points on your license. For people who believe law enforcement won’t be able to prove you were texting, the Nebraska State Patrol says it can check with the phone company to see if there was phone activity when you were pulled over.