From Our Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent
Residents of Texas are on the road to ending text messaging in their state. This dangerous practice has cost lives throughout the country. Citizens in Texas and across the country have taken on a real message, “My life is worth more than a text message!”
There are now 46 states and Washington, D.C. that have enacted laws banning texting for all drivers. The remaining four states either have no ban or partial bans. Texas is now reconsidering a total ban but has had difficulty passing the law through their legislature, though 40 Texas cities have passed local ordinances to ban texting while driving.
With one in five accidents being caused by “texters” in Texas, there is a need for a total ban as driving is a privilege. Those who take it upon themselves to text while driving must suffer the consequences of performing an operation that deters from the driving process and threatens the lives, health and safety of them (and any passengers) as well as the safety of other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists on streets and highways.
The City of El Paso, Texas has served as a model of success with their city’s ban on texting and driving and police there have written thousands of citations to errant texters. The city came up with simple guidelines that basically prohibited drivers under 18 from using wireless devices as well as drivers with learner permits, school bus operators and any and all drivers present in school zones.
Texting while driving should be made a primary offense, particularly if another driver, pedestrian or bicyclist is severely injured or killed by a texting driver. Those texting have to be made aware that texting is not some fun fad or necessary entertainment activity that accompanies driving. Driving cautiously and defensively should be the main focus of any driver. Texting is a separate action that should only be performed while in a non-moving situation.
Those state legislatures or city governments that have not enacted full bans on texting need to consider the serious consequences of texting while driving and follow the models of those states that have been successful in getting drivers off “the texting while driving habit.” Penalties should be stiff with initial warnings and citations. If a texter is caught a second and third time, consideration should be made for driver’s license suspension or revocation if serious injury or death is the result of a texting altercation or accident.
There will always be emergency situations where a text may need to be sent, but that should only occur in the most critical of circumstances. The side of the road, a driveway or a shopping center parking lot is a better and safer option for sending texts, emergency or otherwise.
Making a distracted driver legally responsible for their actions is one of the few ways to stop texting while driving. Texting and driving is dangerous and legally apprehending those doing it can help save lives and make streets and roads safer for all drivers.