In response to an increasing number of
motor-vehicle accidents across the nation, the U.S. Congress enacts a federal
statute, titled the Don’t Text and Drive
Act (the Act). The senate report for the Act attributes the increase in
motor-vehicle accidents to a rise in the number of drivers, particularly
teenagers, who send and receive text messages while driving. The senate report
finds that these accidents cost billions of dollars annually in economic losses,
personal injury, and overall societal harm, and that they interfere with the
well-being and educational prospects of their teenager victims. The senate
report further asserts that this problem requires a national solution, because
states have failed to uniformly prohibit texting while driving.
The Act, as explained below, conditions
certain federal funding on the states’ prohibiting texting while driving, an
offense defined in the Act as “operating a motor vehicle while manually typing
or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a
wireless communications device.” Under
the Act, states have the discretion to impose civil or criminal penalties on
Any state that does not prohibit texting
while driving will lose 15 percent of the federal funds it receives to improve
the quality of its public K-12 education. The total amount that each state
would lose constitutes approximately 2 percent of an average state’s overall
- Is the Act constitutional? Explain.
Is the Act constitutional? Explain.