Our Positions | Distracted/Impaired Driving

Roadways have become more dangerous because of in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2015 blamed 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries on forms of distracted driving that included talking or texting on a phone, adjusting an entertainment console, or operating a navigation system. Such technology features add to the existing forms of distracted driving like eating and conversing with passengers.

This issue has garnered attention at state capitals across the country with laws banning or limiting the operation of electronic devices while driving. To date, 47 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving and several states have adopted more stringent measures regarding use of handheld devices.

In addition to the perils of distracted driving, impaired driving continues to threaten the safety of roads. According to NHTSA, 28 people in the United States die each day in an alcohol-related vehicle crash and a cost of $52 billion is attributed to these deaths and damages.

NAMIC Position

NAMIC supports prohibitions on the use of handheld devices and text messaging while driving. NAMIC also encourages further development of technology to block such devices from operation while the vehicle is in motion. Laws designed to make roadways safer benefit our members’ policyholders as well as the driving public and pedestrians.

NAMIC is a member of the board of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and strongly supports that organization’s numerous safety initiatives that include laws on the implementation of tougher impaired-driving provisions. NAMIC supports the Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-related Fatalities Everywhere Act (also called the ROADS SAFE Act), which authorizes $12 million in annual funding for the NHTSA to develop in-vehicle technology to prevent drunk driving. NAMIC also stands behind efforts at the state level to reduce drunk-driving fatalities and injuries.

Illinois: Governor Signs Bill Expanding Prohibitions on Distracted Driving

August 20, 2019 Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 9 signed SB 86, which prohibits drivers from using wireless devices to stream videos while operating a motor vehicle. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rockford and suburban lawmakers, will go into effect on... Read more

House Committee Eyes Automobile Safety

July 29, 2019 The subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing July 24 titled “Legislation to Make Cars in America Safer.” Appearing before lawmakers were Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for... Read more

North Carolina: End of Session Near; DOI Schedules Free Flood Insurance Classes for Public, Agents

June 25, 2019 While the 2019 North Carolina General Assembly is likely to adjourn by mid-July, it’s entirely possible legislators could wrap up just before the July 4 holiday, with plans to continue work only on the state... Read more

AVs, Auto Safety Take Center Stage at FAST Act Hearing

June 24, 2019 The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing June 19 titled “FAST ACT Reauthorization: Transportation and... Read more

Alabama: Session Adjourns Without Handheld Cellphone Ban; SOL Extension Does Pass

June 4, 2019 The Alabama General Assembly adjourned its 2019 regular session on May 31. Despite steady progress and debate up until the very last day, HB 404, which would have banned the use of handheld cellphones while driving, did not cross the finish line for... Read more


Tom Karol
General Counsel - Federal