Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Texting behind wheel is deadly behavior

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 30, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.

Driving is a delicate task that requires concentration. Every time a driver turns the key, he or she needs to be alert to ensure his or her safety as well as the safety of those around them.

In today's world of instant communication and gratification, many drivers forget this need to be cautious and choose to be distracted, whether it's tuning the radio, using their cellphones or a myriad of other reasons to take their eyes off the road.

That's why we are glad to see the Texas legislature plan to consider Senate Bill 28, which would make Texas one of 40 states to ban text-based communication while operating a vehicle.

Distracted driving accounted for 100,000 crashes in Texas in 2009. That number is a frightening statistic. Every day, millions of drivers take to the streets in their vehicles going to and from work, the grocery store or any number of destinations. With so many people zipping back and forth along Texas' roads and highways, it is imperative that drivers take the extra effort to pay attention at all times. Just a moment of distraction could be all it takes to spark a horrendous wreck.

Because of the dangers presented by multiple people speeding down the road in vehicles weighing tons constructed of metal, glass and plastic, we are glad to see this bill on the state legislature's agenda.

This situation is such a widespread problem that countries across the globe are using everything from laws to television commercials to show the negative impact and dangers of texting and driving. In Great Britain, a controversy erupted over a graphic commercial showing a fatal wreck involving three teenage girls after the driver caused a wreck while texting. While the images shown were shocking, these situations are showing up more and more on roads around the world as cellphones and texting plans become universally available.

We encourage the legislature to take a good look at this bill. We hope it will bring more safety on Texas' roads. There are already some laws in place that limit distractions involving cellphones, such as banning their use in school zones, but we believe more can be done to ensure our roads can be safer places for drivers.

We often hope people will have enough common sense to know when they are being distracted and pull over to tend to their phones. But common sense seems to be in short supply in today's world, so unfortunately, the law must step up to protect people on Texas' roadways.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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