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GHSA News Release

November 10, 2009

Contact: Kara Macek
(202)789-0942, ext. 14

And Rhode Island Makes 19!

Ocean State Becomes 19th to Ban Texting While Driving

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed a law banning all drivers from text messaging while driving. The Ocean State becomes the 19th state with this law. In 2009, twelve new states have passed broad texting while driving bans, bringing the total to 19, plus the District of Columbia. As of December 2008, only seven states plus D.C. had enacted similar legislation.

GHSA expects this number to continue to grow quickly. According to GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, "There's a tremendous amount of interest in addressing distracted driving at both the state and national levels. I expect an additional 20-25 states could pass this legislation within the next year."

Regardless of state laws, GHSA continues to urge drivers to hang up and drive. According to Harsha, "Texting and conversations on a cell phone have been shown to greatly increase risk of a crash. We need to restore some common sense to driving."

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Current state cell phone and text messaging bans as well as a variety of distracted driving background is posted at

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit