More than 57,000 crashes in Kentucky were caused last year by distracted drivers paying attention not to the road … but to things like cell phones and text messages.
More than 200 people died in those crashes. That represents over one-fourth of all fatalities.
These are preventable tragedies and we’re doing something about it.
Today I signed House Bill 415, which bans texting for all drivers and in addition bans cell phone use for drivers under 18.
There are a few exceptions, and these are spelled out in the statute.
Law enforcement officers will issue warnings until Jan. 1 of 2011. From then on, violators will be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for each offense afterward.
Kentucky becomes the 22nd state to ban texting while driving, and legislation is pending in other states as well.
To coincide with this bill signing, AT&T came to Kentucky to kick off its new national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.
Last December, I emphasized this message to state employees by launching my Eyes on the Road effort, which included an executive order prohibiting text messaging by state employees driving government-owned vehicles.
The number of fatalities on state highways has declined for four years in a row. Last year there were 791. We should not rest until that number is zero.