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Published January 29, 2011, 06:23 PM

Texting While Driving May Soon Get A Statewide Ban

Only a couple cities in North Dakota have a texting ban. But that may soon change. Lawmakers are mulling the idea of making it illegal to text while driving in the entire state.

Only a couple cities in North Dakota have a texting ban.

But that may soon change.

Lawmakers are mulling the idea of making it illegal to text while driving in the entire state.

House bill 1195 would ban drivers from checking e-mail, texting, instant messaging and using the Internet while in the car.

One Casselton, ND, woman isn't sure it will help.

"I sometimes think we're legislating too much and I think already there's a rule about distracted driving," Palmer said.

Shelle Palmer admits texting while driving scares her on the road, but thinks the current bans in Grand Forks, a $15 fine, and Bismarck, a $50 fine, aren't strict enough.

"A harsher penalty I think is definitely going to be needed if you're going to do something like that, because $15 means nothing to nobody," Palmer said.

The House Transportation Committee held a hearing this week on the statewide texting ban. Drivers would face a $100 fine, and after three violations, a one-year license suspension.

"We need a uniform law #1, and #2 I think this is a dangerous practice in North Dakota. We got a lot of people who are texting while driving and I'm afraid some of them might run into me or a friend of mine or family member," Rep. Lawrence Klemin said.

Klemin says there is support among other representatives for the ban, but the transportation committee had some doubts.

"They seemed to think the existing laws on careless driving would handle it. I don't think that's the case anywhere in the country and we really need a specific law," Klemin said.

A law that Palmer may not completely agree with, but will make her feel safer on the roadways.

"I see it more often now I think because I have done it myself and I felt very out of control when I did that, so I don't like it," Palmer said.

30 states already have similar bans. The bill will be discussed again next week.

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