Local Editorials

Don’t text and drive

R U driving?

If the answer is yes, then texting should not be an option.

It’s common sense, really. Yet, many of us seem drawn to texting anyway. Our phones make that little noise and we check a message and we can’t help but respond. It’s only a second, we figure, and we can handle it. It’s stupid people who shouldn’t text and drive.

Maybe the text is from someone who wants to make plans. Maybe it’s a proposed trade from a fantasy football geek. Maybe it’s mom wondering why you haven’t called recently. No matter what the text message, the response can wait. Driving needs focus and attention; it is not a time to multi-task.

This month Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a ban on texting and driving. It’s a welcome measure. The law allows police to stop and ticket drivers for sending text messages. The fine would range from $75 to $500. Because distracted driving is a moving violation, the ticket would go on the driver’s record.

So far, 14 other states have passed similar bans.

Distracted driving is a serious problem, even if it’s not always taken seriously by some. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study found that collision risk was as much as 23 times greater when texting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that more than 25 percent of reported crashes involve drivers who are not paying attention.

Driving is not a right, it’s a privilege. And when behind the wheel, we all need to respect other drivers. That respect includes driving as safely and courteously as possible. Drivers who chose to text message while driving are putting everyone around them at risk.

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