Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Texting While Driving Needs To Be Treated Just Like DUI; A Very Sobering Public Service Announcement

Texting while driving is a growing problem. Unlike using a cell phone while driving, one must take one's eyes completely off the road to text. And the consequences can be quick - and catastrophic - as shown in this public service announcement:

The only effective way to deal with the growing problem of texting while driving is to treat it just like DUI. This may seem harsh, but one is momentarily even more impaired texting than if intoxicated.

There is absolutely, positively no logical reason to be texting while driving.

On July 29th, 2009, BetaNews reported that some U.S. Senators have introduced a bill with the goal of making text messaging while driving illegal. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senators Charles E. Schumer (NY), Robert Menendez (NJ), Mary Landrieu (LA), and Kay Hagan (NC) and impels states to draft laws that ban texting while driving, or otherwise face a 25 percent cut in their annual highway budget. Such laws have already been passed in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Alaska, I'm proud to say, is one of them; kudos to our state legislature for recognizing the problem early.

Schumer also unveiled a similar piece of legislation that seeks to ban text messaging for public transit drivers. The bills cite research by the American Medical Association which say that texting while driving constitutes a public health risk and increases the amount of time the driver's eyes are off the road by 400%. Once the bill becomes a law, the transportation Secretary will have six months to issue legal guidelines, and states will have two years to approve their new laws.

This would be a worthy piece of legislation - even if it comes from Democrats. Party lines are irrelevant on this issue.

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