Montana texting while driving is now making headlines as the state is the only one in the U.S. allowing the act of texting while driving. Even as a new law took effect in South Carolina during the week banning the act, Montana texting while driving is still legal.
Mike Tooley, the State Department of Transportation Director has addressed the Montana texting while driving being legal. Tooley said on Wednesday that though he believes Montana to need the ban, the state has never taken charge for implementing new laws on highway safety. Tooley said the state is leaving the charge to the municipalities.
He said on the issue of the Montana texting while driving ban, "I am disappointed that once again we're last to take something regarding highway safety seriously." Tooley added that in relation to Montana texting while driving ban being last in the country, Montana was also without child safety restraints for years despite it being implemented in the country.
According to the department, there are around a dozen Montana city ordinances and two counties which ban texting behind the wheel.
The Associated Press reports that there have already been proposed legislations with regard to Montana texting while driving, with Montana lawmakers banning the use of cellphones while driving in recent years. However, the attempts have failed to get a footing in the law.
Meanwhile, Democratic state Sen. Christine Kaufmann of Helena said that she is planning to propose a similar bill in the 2015 legislative session, unless of course another official is also planning to go first.
Kauffmann said of the lack in Montana texting while driving ban, "We should be embarrassed. It would be good to have consistency across the state. The focus should be on driving, not talking."
Montana texting while driving should indeed be implemented as soon as possible for the safety and protection of Montana residents. Montana Highway Patrol data reportedly shows that driver cellphone usage has been the reason for 1,614 crashes from 2004 to 2013.
According to news website Christian Science Monitor, the lack in Montana texting while driving ban is definitely the sole state not implementing the law. There are reportedly forty-four states banning texting while driving for all ages said AAA. Among the states are South Carolina and Washington, D.C. Others such as Missouri, Oklahoma Mississippi and Texas are only banning texting while driving for young and/or inexperienced drivers and for some bus drivers.