Texting And Driving Don’t Mix

Sometimes things are so obvious that one is inclined to wonder why there’s even a need for debate. This is one of those:

From the NYT:

An organization of state highway safety officials on Monday plans to call for a ban on texting while driving, joining a growing chorus of legislators and safety advocates endorsing such a policy.

The group, the Governors Highway Safety Association, whose members are appointed by state governors to lead highway safety agencies, said it adopted the policy in light of a growing body of research showing the increased crash risk posed by texting motorists.

The policy is a change for the association, which previously questioned the value of such a ban, saying it would be difficult to enforce.

Now, Vernon F. Betkey Jr., chairman of the association, says that a ban “will send a message to the public that this dangerous practice is unacceptable. We can begin to change the culture that has permitted distracted driving.”

The announcement comes as the association convenes its annual meeting this week in Savannah, Ga.

The transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, who has organized a distracted driving summit meeting to take place in late September, opposes texting while driving. Recently, several senators introduced legislation to force states to ban texting while driving or lose federal highway money.

Studies show that motorists who send or receive a text message have a tendency to take their eyes off the road for five seconds to do so. That is enough time for their car to travel more than the length of a football field at highway speeds.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found in a study that truckers sending text messages while driving are 23 times likelier to cause a crash or near crash than a trucker not texting. Studies using a driving simulator at the University of Utah found that car drivers who text face an eight times greater crash risk.

Somehow, I assumed that truckers never did this sort of thing. The idea of a guy driving an 18 wheeler going seventy miles an hour and sitting on my bumper texting his wife to let her what he wants for dinner sends chills down my spine. How can anyone put forth a cogent argument that there shouldn’t be stiff fines for this?

What is so important and urgent that it can’t wait for a rest area or the nearest parking lot. Or, am I just getting old and cranky.

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