Texting while Driving
I was driving to my downtown Eau Claire office one morning last week and I noticed that the vehicle in front of me was weaving a bit. I became concerned when the driver appeared to not understand the traffic pattern and may have been impaired in some way. The driver of the pickup truck stopped in the middle of the road and nearly caused an accident. After confronting the young female driver, it was apparent that she was pre-occupied by texting while driving.
I have to admit that I have sent text messages to friends who contact me while I am on the road
. My normal response via text message while driving consists of two words: "Call me". In other words, I would rather talk to someone by phone than try to send a message while on the highway. Unfortunately, there are too many people that elect to send text messages while operating a vehicle.
This past week, Illinois was the 17th state to ban texting by motorists. There really is no way to enforce the rule, but it should be noted that studies show that those who text while driving were 23 times more likely to crash or nearly get into a wreck than undistracted drivers. In addition, the U.S. Senate has proposed a bill that would require states to outlaw the sending of text messages by drivers or lose 25 percent of their millions of dollars of federal highway funds each year. The last time the federal government imposed similar legislation was when Congress pressured states to raise the minimum drinking age to 21 back in 1984.
Like most individuals, I am not a big fan of government telling us what we have to do
. Wearing seatbelts is now a requirement in the State of Wisconsin, which I have become accostomed to for the past year. I understand why law enforcement needs to be sure roadways are safe for everyone, especially when people are looking down at their most recent text message and trying to respond while operating a motor vehicle.
There are studies that show that a person driving a vehicle while texting are more succeptible to getting into an accident than someone who is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. So, in my opinion, buckle up and stop texting while driving. There is nothing so important that cannot be accomplished until the vehicle you are driving is at a full stop in a safe location. I am a firm believer after witnessing what happened in front of me in downtown Eau Claire last week.