Tuesday, February 22, 2011
News-Press Editorial: Ban texting while driving
News-Press Feb. 22, 2011
Lawmakers may be reluctant to ban texting
while driving, but they should think again.
There are many types of distracted driving
but texting involves all three types of
distraction: taking your eyes off the road,
your hands off the wheel and your mind off
what you're supposed to be doing.
Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral,
chairman of the powerful House Rules
Committee, says the Legislature isn't in the
mood to "legislate issues that are really
matters of personal responsibility."
Last year, 17 bills on the issue were
introduced, none reached the governor's
desk, and this is a more conservative set of
But the case for saving lives with texting
bans is carrying the day in an increasing
number of states.
So far, 30 states and the District of
Columbia ban text messaging or cell phone
use while driving. Twelve of these laws
were enacted in 2010 alone. The laws
vary. Some apply only to certain ages;
some are secondary laws, meaning you can
be ticketed for violating them only if you
are pulled over for another violation.
But all are in response to chilling statistics.
The National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration says 20 percent of injury
crashes in 2009 involved reports of
distracted driving. Drivers who use hand-
held devices are four times as likely to get
into crashes serious enough to injure
themselves, according to the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety.
One of the more alarming statistics from
the Transportation Department is that the
portion of drivers reportedly distracted at
the time of fatal crashes increased from 7
percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.
The trend indicates more will die from
driving distractions - the worst of which is
texting. Urge our lawmakers to act.
• Sen. Garrett Richter, District 37, 338-2777,
• Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, District 27, 850-487-
• Sen. Mike Bennett, District 21, 225-3697, bennett.
• Rep. Ken Roberson, House District 71, 941-613-
• Rep. Paige Kreegel, House District 72, 941-575-
• Rep. Matt Caldwell, House District 73, 533-2411,
• Rep. Gary Aubuchon, House District 74, 344-
• Rep. Trudi Williams, District 75, 433-6775, trudi.
Click here to see Doug MacGregor's Cartoon.