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Senators Propose Texting-while-driving Ban

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 6:32am
by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Jason_Pic130Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing legislation that would make texting while driving illegal. The bill, cosponsored by Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, would require states to pass the appropriate legislation or face loss of highway funds.

TextingTexting made headlines after a spurt of train accidents where cell phones were the culprit-- or at least, the act of texting prevented operators from doing their job. On September 12, 2008, a Metrolink commuter train plowed into a Union Pacific freight locomotive. The engineer, Robert Martin Sanchez, was receiving text messages moments before the accident. Was it too late by that point? Most likely, yes. All trains need some distance to fully brake. But he is reported to have received seven and sent five text messages between 3:00 p.m. and the time of the accident. These distractions may have prevented him from doing something sooner. The precise timing is impossible to determine.

Fourteen states, along with Washington DC, already have similar legislation in place. This national act would fill in the gaps. I’m not normally in favor of increased government regulation, but this is a no-brainer. The driver doesn’t just put himself in danger; lest we forget, there are other cars on the road. A drunk driver can kill others beside himself. Similarly, a “texter” is a danger to everyone.

Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m nuts? Leave a comment below or e-mail me directly.

Note: The preceding represents the view of the editor and not necessarily ECN.

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