In the state of New Hampshire, texting and driving can cost an individual up to $100 in fines. However, if involved in a traffic accident, the consequences could be a lot worse. The reports from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that “in 2010 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes—with 3,092 people killed—and crashes resulting in an injury—with 416,000 people wounded.”
The effective date for the N.H. texting and driving laws took place on Jan. 1, 2010, according to information from The New Hampshire General court’s website. According to drivinglaws.org, the laws of texting and driving state that a fine of $100 will be enforced on any person caught text messaging while driving.
The site also indicates that the state of New Hampshire does allow the use of cellphones while driving; however, the information on the website indicates the law states, ”A person operating a moving motor vehicle who writes a text message or uses two hands to type on or operate an electronic or telecommunications device, is guilty of a violation.’”
The Federal Communications Commission has addressed the risks of texting and driving. In the organization’s website, a report from The National Highway Traffic Safety states, “Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger,” according to a Pew survey.
The report from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also includes information on teenage drivers. The report noted, “Eleven percent of drivers aged eighteen to twenty who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.”
Keene Police Sergeant Christopher Simonds said he has not been to a scene of an accident caused by texting and driving.
Simonds noted individuals may receive a summons for texting and driving, and added he has not given a summons to any drivers. The officer said he does know that other Keene police officers have given a summons due to texting and driving.
Students at Keene State College agree texting and driving may be dangerous, but for some, the risk is worth taking.
Senior Andrew Corey said he, “Is not huge against texting and driving,” but said if he had a lot of text to type, he would “Definitely pull over to text it.” Corey said texting at a stop sign is okay but added, “If you’re driving in heavy traffic then it’s really not okay.”
Corey stated he texts while driving, “I will be on the highway and if there are two people in front of me, and one behind me, I will throw out a text, but I will keep looking up to check myself.”
Corey noted he has not seen an accident on the road as a result of texting and driving, but said he has seen “close calls.”
Corey said he has not been in an accident. He also claimed that because a driver in the car in front of him used a cell phone while driving, the driver stopped short. Corey said this then caused him to hit his breaks, and claimed the driver behind him almost hit his car.
Shane Sandman, a KSC student, said the risk people take to text and drive is too great.
“Texting and driving is as bad as drinking and driving—people shouldn’t do it,” he said.
Sandman also said that while he knows people who text and drive, he never puts himself in a vehicle with a driver who chooses to do so.
Sandman said he thinks texting and driving is dangerous because, “You are distracted from your driving.” Sandman noted the consequences for texting and driving, noting accidents and said “cops will pull you over for doing it.”
A KSC student who asked to remain anonymous said she thinks, “texting and driving is really bad,” and said when her friends use their phones while they drive it “freaks” her out.
She then said when her friends receive a text message while driving, she will offer to type the message into their phones so they can continue driving.
The student admitted to using her phone while driving, and stated she is aware of consequences but has still chosen at times to text.
She noted that she feels like she cannot wait a long time before replying to a text message when she drives; however she indicated that if she stopped at a red light or a stop sign, she will use this time as an opportunity to use her phone.
The student stated she has never been in an accident because of texting and driving, but said if she ever did get into an accident due to texting and driving, she said she would never do it again.
According to the AT&T (a popular phone service) website, the company does have a texting campaign to stop drivers from texting while operating a moving vehicle.
AT&T’s slogan for the campaign, based on the information from the website, states, “texting and driving—it can wait.”
On the website for the campaign, after you click, “Take the Pledge,” viewers on the site can then help “spread the word” by sharing the pledge on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
According to an article in USA Today, a survey by AT&T showed “Almost half of all adults admit to texting while driving,” compared to the 43 percent of teenagers that text also.
Kayla Souza can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org