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Montana bill aims to ban texting and driving

House Bill 380 is proposed legislation introduced Montana in that seeks to enact a partial statewide ban on texting while driving. While at least 10 cities already have bans on texting while driving, previous efforts to pass a bill that would make it illegal to text and drive throughout the entire state have failed.

The bill states that drivers would be in violation of the law if they were reading, writing or sending text messages while actively driving, sitting at a light or stop sign or waiting in stationary traffic. Drivers who pull off the roadway and have their vehicles parked can lawfully use their mobile devices.

Under HB 380, the fine for the first texting and driving offense would be just $50, but the amount increases with each consecutive offense. For example, second and third offenses would merit $100 and $200 fines, respectively. These violations wouldn't be recorded on a driver's criminal record or impact his or her insurance policy.

Motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers can lead to serious injuries or even death. If a person is injured in an accident caused by a driver who was texting or reading messages when the crash occurred, he or she could potentially file a personal injury claim. An attorney may assist someone with filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties. In most cases, a lawyer may negotiate with the insurance companies to recompense any costs and damages that were directly associated with the accident. Usually, a settlement is reached without having to go to court, but the case could be taken to trial if all parties cannot agree.

Source: KBZK, "Proposed Montana bill seeks to ban texting while driving state-wide", Aja Goare, 02/07/2017

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