Texting Legislation

WJXT Editorial by Vice President/General Manager Bob Ellis

Published On: Dec 19 2012 05:09:08 PM EST

There's news this week in Tallahassee a law may finally get passed banning texting while driving in Florida in early 2013. You might ask yourself what took so long -- evidence of distractions from texting and the deadly consequences are unfortunately too frequent. My question is why stop there? If you're going to come late to the party, Florida, how about making an entrance?

Distracted driving is a serious problem with dangerous consequences. If you don't believe me, spend rush hour on I-95. Tuesday afternoon I passed a woman driving and reading her ipad. And that's why a mandate prohibiting texting and requiring a hands-free device for making calls makes more sense. It would eliminate more distractions while driving and immediately make roads safer. Technology exists to make safer calls from cars. Someone needs to demand automakers make this technology a standard option -- as in no extra cost -- on all cars. After all, what would happen if we were asked to pay more for seatbelts?

Mobile phones are everywhere. Virtually every adult and many kids have one. No law will change the fact that people have come to expect to remain in touch while behind the wheel. Ban texting to be sure, but that should just be the beginning. A smarter law is what we need. Hopefully someone west on I-10 will realize it.