Distracted drivers remained in the spotlight this week, as a bill was introduced that would require states to write laws prohibiting text messaging by drivers or face losing a quarter of their annual federal highway money.
The proposal comes on the heels of a recent study finding that commercial truck drivers who texted while driving were 23 times more likely to become involved in a crash or near miss.
Such bans are already in place in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and many in the industry believe the bill should copy a cell phone ban that was enacted five years ago in the District of Columbia, which has been credited with helping reducing phone use among drivers by 50 percent.
According to industry experts, such bans are only effective if they are properly enforced by local law enforcement. The question is, would such a widespread bill gain the support of police across the nation? There has been a concerted backlash against distracted driving of late, but are those who really matter willing to do what it takes to make a difference? By threatening to hit states in the pocketbook (an area which I hear is a bit sensitive of late) maybe officials are really getting serious. And don’t think you don’t have a role to play, as well. Isn’t it time we all ditch our electronics while driving and get back to some good old-fashioned distractions like spilling our coffee and carrying out that all-important quest for the CD that slid under the seat?