Are you guilty of DWT?

October 13, 2009

With all of the recent study results surfacing on the dangers of "distracted driving", wireless phone industry lobby, CTIA-The Wireless Association, who once opposed bans on texting or talking while driving, has changed its position. In fact, many related interest groups, including The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration toward making driving while texting illegal.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) does not favor a nationwide law on the matter. This group finds the current proposals in Congress unpalatable because the proposals include language that requires states to ban driving while texting (DWT) in order to receive federal highway funds. They contend that this is counterproductive at a time when states should be spending on road projects.

Currently, eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws against texting while driving (DWT). At least half of these states have passed their anti-texting laws within the last year. Undoubtedly, many more states will be following suit.

In late September the U.S. Department of Transportation held a summit on distracted driving. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood shared with participants findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which show that nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in car accidents involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million people were injured. 

No one can deny that distracted drivers create a dangerous potential for accidents. Therefore it's comforting to know that so many states have implemented laws banning texting while driving, right? Well, the states' laws are not all the same. What is "distracted driving" - other than a vastly broad term? Though many of us consider drivers who conduct activities such as reading, eating, using cell phone applications, programming an iPod or navigation system, shaving, and/or applying make-up while driving to certainly be distracted, most states' distracted driving laws only address cell phone use (calling and texting).

The New Jersey cell-phone law charges a fine of $100 for the use of a hand held wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle. In Pennsylvania, a law banning any sort of distracted driving has not yet been passed, though Philadelphia's ban on handheld cell phones and texting takes effect November 1st.

What do you think about DWT? Should it be illegal? Can it be enforced?

1 comments:

Anonymous,  October 15, 2009 at 11:36 AM  

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE ROAD TO TYPE IN THE LETTERS, NO? ANYONE WHO DOES THIS IS PUTTING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS IN DANGER.

I DO NOT THINK THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH WEARING A PHONE HEAD SET, ,,, AND TALKING WITHOUT USING YOUR HANDS TO HOLD ANYTHIG, ....

ITS LIKE TALKING TO A PASSENGER IN YOUR CAR, AND SAFER THEWN HAVING 3 SCREAMING KIDS IN THE BACK SEAT.

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