Put away the phones while behind the wheel
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 3:05 AM
It's a sad state of affairs when people have to be told by the law not to type on a tiny keyboard while operating a motor vehicle, but unfortunately, that's apparently what has to happen.
A coalition called Drive Aware Oklahoma is pushing for a legislative ban on texting while driving because its partners believe that a law on the books is the only way to reduce the practice.
While they await the return of the Legislature next spring, partners in the coalition are attempting to educate the public about the dangers of the practice.
Already, 39 states have specifically banned the practice of texting while driving.
Tulsa police are cracking down on inattentive driving, and their experience indicates this is indeed a problem in the city. Last year, police issued 58 citations for inattentive driving, and so far this year, 64 such citations have been issued.
A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. That's because the practice requires the driver to take his eyes off the road for about 5 seconds.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office attributed nine fatal crashes, 547 injury crashes and 818 non-injury crashes in the state in 2010 to distraction caused by an electronic device.
The practice is so dangerous the OHP encourages motorists who see vehicles being operated in a reckless and unsafe manner to contact the patrol by calling *55 and report the motorist.
This is one proposal our lawmakers should have no trouble at all supporting. While we await their action, let's do the sensible thing and put away the cell phones while behind the wheel. Remember, the life you save may be your own.
Original Print Headline: R u nuts?