Keep both hands on the wheelThe North Dakota Legislature, when it meets in January, should ban texting while driving. It’s a matter of safety. Texting while driving, according to experts, is more dangerous than drinking alcohol and then driving.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
The North Dakota Legislature, when it meets in January, should ban texting while driving.
It’s a matter of safety. Texting while driving, according to experts, is more dangerous than drinking alcohol and then driving.
Legislators should do statewide what cities and counties are already doing, putting a damper on texting while driving in their jurisdictions.
In July, Bismarck City Commissioner Parrell Grossman told the Tribune that he wants to work with City Attorney Charlie Whitman to develop a city ordinance that bans the practice of texting while driving.
Beginning Oct.1, if you get caught texting while driving in Grand Forks it will cost you $15.
Stark County adopted a policy recently that prohibits county employees from using electronic devices such as cell phones while driving.
In August, the Fargo Police Department banned texting while driving for all employees.
Lawmakers should take note of these actions by cities and counties and follow suit. The evidence supporting banning texting while driving is pretty astounding. The collision risk for drivers texting is 23 times as likely than for non-texting drivers. Reaction times by drivers who are texting drop about 35 percent. More than 20 states have banned texting while driving.
Who hasn’t pulled along side an erratically operated motor vehicle only to look over and see that driver steering with his/her elbows and two-thumbs on a miniature keyboard.
A vast majority of people — 87 percent according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety poll in 2009 — consider texting while driving a “very serious” safety threat. Lawmakers can’t go wrong with public support like that.
Banning texting while driving is probably doable. Banning talking on cell phones while driving, not as dangerous as texting but nevertheless dicey, probably would not pass muster — it’s not as dangerous and the usage is more pervasive, no matter the age.
The thing of it is, a traffic accident can be enormously tragic and deadly. Like the drunk driver, a texting driver may cause an accident involving other people, other lives. And although it may be hard to enforce a ban on texting while driving, anything we can do to reduce the number of accidents related to this “distracted behavior,” the better off we all are.
The Legislature will have a lot on its plate in January. Let’s hope they have time to make our roads and highways a little safer by banning texting and driving.