Arizona, Connecticut, and Washington have proposed new legislation to eliminate text messaging while driving, becoming the latest in a long line of states taking action against using cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, reports Stateline.org. Representatives from the three states each cite specific events in which a cell phone distracted driver caused severe accidents, and they have targeted text messaging as their initial attempt to prevent future accidents. Washington State has tried in the past to join the list of states that have banned all hand-held cell phone use while driving, but the measure has failed in previous years. The bills range in punitive degrees for each state, but if passed the states will be able to fine texters anywhere from $50 to $500 for an offense. Presently, four states plus the District of Columbia have outlawed hand-held cell phone use by drivers, thirteen states have prohibited young or inexperienced drivers from using cell phones at all while behind the wheel, and 37 states prohibit TV screens from being visible to the driver, according to Stateline.org. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of all crashes are caused by distracted driving, with the number one distraction being cell phone use with 73 percent. A study released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance reports that 37 percent of teenagers and adults in their 20s text or instant message while driving, while only 17 percent of 30-40 year-old drivers and 2 percent of 50-60 year-olds practice the same habit. State cell-phone regulation seems likely to increase as 27 states are currently tracking the amount of accidents due to cell phone use, and four states have pending bills to make cell phone use illegal for anyone behind the wheel.
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