I was speechless when I read (Herald, Nov. 16) that seven out of 10 young people currently text while they drive. Having to be nimble on your feet to avoid crashing into the ever-increasing number of people who stroll on sidewalks while riveted to the screen of their phone is bad enough. But seven out of 10 texting while driving?
With the numbers that high, publicity to urge people not to text and drive obviously is falling on deaf ears – likely because texting can be so addictive and young people are so much more prone to believing that nothing bad will happen to them.
Seriously, if this statistic were even one out of 10, we all need to seriously lobby our legislators to enact much stiffer penalties for texting while driving. First offense: Demand the person’s cellphone provider to cancel all texting capability from the person’s phone for one year. Make all 50 states create a list of text-driving offenders so the person could not get a second phone with texting capability while under a texting suspension.
Second offense: Take away texting for two years plus take away their driver’s license for a year. Third offense: jail time and a permanent loss of texting capability from their phone when they get out.
How obvious is it to realize texting while driving is so terribly dangerous? It only takes staring down at that screen for a second to cause a serious or fatal accident – and with statistics telling us that seven out of 10 young people text and drive?
We are facing a potentially huge increase in the number of serious accidents. As many of us as possible, please, we need to lobby our state legislators to demand stiffer penalties for texting while driving and to publicize such increased penalties as much as possible.