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Whether it’s talking on a cell phone, applying makeup, or inhaling a meal while on the go, drivers and their distractions are increasing in number and frequency. In particular, the proliferation of text-messaging devices have increased the amount of the little notes being sent. Because typing one of these short messages still requires a driver to focus somewhere other than the road, it’s come under fire from several states recently in the form of legislation that attempts to outlaw the practice.

Just last month, Washington’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that makes typing and sending text messages on cell phones or BlackBerries a traffic offense if done so while driving. The bill’s language, which was sponsored by Representatives Joyce McDonald and Dawn Morrell, states, ” A person operating a moving motor vehicle while reading, manually writing, or sending a text message on an electronic wireless communications device is guilty of a traffic infraction.” It allows Washington State Patrol to cite drivers with a second-degree negligent driving offense if they are observed committing the act, which typically results in a fine of $111.

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