May 11, 2012 10:23:20 AM
A car moving 60 mph will go more than the length of a football field in the five seconds a driver looks down to send a text or dial a phone number. That driver is more than 20 times likely to have an accident than a non-texting driver.
Thirty-eight states now ban texting while driving. Alabama joined the list this week. Mississippi should join that group.
In Mississippi the only drivers prohibited from texting while driving are those with a learner's permit or behind the wheel of a school bus. According to a website on the subject (textinganddrivingfacts.com) one out of every five car accidents by teen drivers is a result of texting and driving. That percentage is expected to grow.
We're not surprised. Next time you're waiting at a stop light, look around at your fellow drivers. Chances are more of them will be engaged with their cell phones than not.
Fifty-seven percent of teens say their cell phones and texting are a vital part of their social life.
According to a website on the subject, simply muting the sound of a cell phone can reduce the risk of an accident by 50 percent.
Ten states require a hands-free device be used while driving and talking on a cell phone. We'd like to see that number grow, too.
Alabama Republican Rep. Jim McClendon worked six years on the bill banning texting while driving before it won legislative approval. "There's no question we are going to save lives," McClendon said.
When questioned why it took so long to get the legislation passed, McClendon replied, "One step at a time. Alabama is a little different let's face it. This is not New York. This is not California. There are folks who feel like we may be infringing on their freedoms as citizens," he said.
Distracted drivers infringe on the freedoms (and lives) of innocent people, the very people laws are meant to protect. We would like to see one of our legislators take up this worthy cause.
2. Slimantics: Beyond the pain, there is potential LOCAL COLUMNS