Bill Would Raise Fines for Texting While Driving in Del. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bill Would Raise Fines for Texting While Driving in Del.

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Distract driving-related deaths are on the rise, according to AAA. (Photo: WBOC file) Distract driving-related deaths are on the rise, according to AAA. (Photo: WBOC file)
(Photo: WBOC file) (Photo: WBOC file)

DOVER, Del.- WBOC cameras have caught people texting and driving before, and some Delaware lawmakers are saying the problem needs to be dealt with.

Lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that would double the fine for a first time offense. The fine stands at $50, and under the proposal, it would be $100. One a second time offense, the fine would be $300. Today, it stands at $200.

Another aspect of the bill would put points on drivers' licenses beginning with their second texting and driving offense. Having points on your license could result in mandatory defensive driving classes or a suspended license.

Dawn Ebert, a driver from Camden, says texting and driving just does not make any sense.

"It's just too easy to take your eyes off of the road," she said. "And the next minute you look up and somebody may have stopped in front of you."

People WBOC spoke with today had differing opinions on whether increasing the fines will work. Allen Williams of Dover says if it will serve as a deterrent, he supports is.

"I think unfortunately, if that's the only way people are going to obey the law, then why not if it's going to save lives?" he said. "What are you going to do?"

Teneshia Dixon felt differently about the proposal serving as a deterrent.

"I don't think it's going to help at all," she said. "People are going to run the red lights and they're going to crash into people while texting. They're not going to put down the social media. So I don't think it's going to help at all."

April is distracted driving awareness month, and AAA is working to show people the dangers of any type of distracted driving. The organization says 87 percent of drivers admit to risky behaviors behind the wheel, including distracted driving. Seventy percent of drivers admitted to talking on the cell phone while driving, and 42 percent said they have read a text message or email while driving, according to the AAA report.

Jim Lardear, a AAA spokesman, says most Delaware drivers believe other drivers are distracted when using either a hand-held phone or a hands-free device to talk or text, but 36 percent of those same drivers admit to doing the same.

"They know the dangers of distracted driving, but they continue to do so anyway," he said.

Hose Bill 302, the texting while driving bill, still sits in committee at legislative hall and has bipartisan support. 

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