By Keith Laing - 04/26/11 05:46 PM EDT
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood praised another state Tuesday for embracing his push to reduce distracted driving by outlawing texting while behind the wheel.
LaHood said North Dakota became the 31st state to enact a ban on texting while driving. Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territory of Guam have similar bans. Eight states and the Virgin Islands have banned hand-held cell phone in cars altogether, LaHood said.
“North Dakota has taken an important step to eliminate distracted driving,” LaHood said in a statement. “Thanks to the bill signed today by Governor Dalrymple, North Dakota roads will be safer for everyone.”
The North Dakota law will take effect Aug. 1 and carries a $100 fine for violations, LaHood said.
Convincing states to enact similar bans has been a major priority of transportation officials because a national ban from Congress is unlikely.