North Dakota becomes 31st state to ban texting while driving

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Updated May 2, 2011

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday, April 26, praised North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple for signing a new law banning texting while driving in the state. The new law, which becomes effective Aug. 1, will impose a fine of $100 on people caught texting while driving.

“North Dakota has taken an important step to eliminate distracted driving,” LaHood said. “Thanks to the bill signed today by Governor Dalrymple, North Dakota roads will be safer for everyone.”

With the addition of North Dakota, 31 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now have banned text messaging by all drivers. Eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all handheld cell phone use while driving.

In 2009, LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign modeled on other NHTSA efforts to reduce fatalities, such as its “Over the Limit Under Arrest” and “Click It Or Ticket” campaigns to curb drunk driving and increase seatbelt use.

In addition, DOT has launched a dedicated website,, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving; hosted two national summits devoted to the issue; crafted sample legislation that states can use to adopt distracted driving laws; and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y.