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2014 is not the year to text while driving

Many states, such as New York, have penalties for texting while driving. One lawmaker in New Jersey is trying to take this one step further.

Driving while "texting" or while "holding" your cellphone falls under the category of "distracted driving." And while a lot of states have already cracked down on it, Russ Martin with the drivers' group AAA says there’s more to come in 2014.

"One of the most high profile distracted driving laws that are going to be coming onto effect on Jan. 1 is a ban on hand-held cellphone use in the state of Illinois," Russ Martin said. 

Also, California will start enforcing a law that bans anyone under age 18 from writing or reading a text while driving. And Oregon is increasing its fines for texting and talking on a hand-held from about $142 to up to $500.

Rahi Abouk is a professor at Ohio University* and co-authored a study looking at whether texting bans workHe says initially the number of fatal accidents goes down but, "The bans become ineffective on fatal accidents and drivers return to their previous behaviors after three to four months.

In other words, it has the lifespan of the average New Year’s resolution.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified Ohio University. The text has been corrected.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.
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