Mississippi Senate passes texting ban; some question enforcement, privacy

02/04/2011 // Greensboro, NC, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Jackson, MS—A bill banning texting while driving was passed in the Mississippi Senate on Thursday, February 3, 2011, despite concerns of privacy and how the ban will be enforced, as reported by Bloomberg.

Republican Sens. Merle Flowers of Southaven and Chris McDaniel of Ellisville were the only two lawmakers who voted against the measure.

The bill will now move on to the House, where another similar legislation died last year.

In 2009, Mississippi passed a law which banned young drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle. But, this new bill will include all drivers, which will bring a misdemeanor change and a fine of $500 if someone was found guilty of texting while behind the wheel.

If an accident occurred because a driver was texing, the fine would be bumped up to $1,000.

But, not all lawmakers agree that this no-texting bill will be effective. Several lawmakers are questioning whether police officers will be able to tell the difference between a motorists making a phone call or texting.

Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus, is concerned about privacy. Brown said, “A law officer could read a person’s text message after an individual was pulled over.”

“Are they going to confiscate your cell phone for evidence? We’re leaving too much stuff up to the executive branch. You’re liable to have different (law officers) doing different things all over the state,” Brown continued.

But Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton doesn’t feel the same way. “The truth of the matter is people are dying because we’ve got young people out there every day who are choosing to send a message when they should be looking at the highway,” Jones said.

At this time, 31 states have banned texting while driving.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley- Legal news for Mississippi lawyers.

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