Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 389 into law this week, making Mississippi the 45th state to completely ban texting and driving.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, H.B. 389 bans both texting and posting to social media while driving, and the ban takes effect July 1. Initially, violators will be issued a civil fine of $25 per violation, but as of July 2016 the fine will be raised to $100 per violation.
House Transportation Chairman Robert Johnson III, D-Natchez, heaped praise upon the new law.
“It will save lives,” Johnson said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that Mississippi had been one of only six states to not completely ban texting while driving. Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri only have partial bans while Arizona and Montana have no ban whatsoever.
Mississippi Center for Health Policy released a December 2014 report that said a texting ban could have prevented an estimated 95 deaths between 2008 and 2012, so long as police were able to identify and apprehend violators.