Our View: Don’t text and drive, it’s that simple

DKS Editors

House Bill 99, which prohibits using a handheld-electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read a text while driving in Ohio, became fully enforceable on March 1. The bill was initially signed in June and put into effect in August, making Ohio the 39th state to ban texting while driving. Drivers pulled over for texting while driving could face fines of up to $150 and possible license suspension for drivers under age 18.

The earliest forms of text messaging began in the ‘90s, and over the years, numerous advancements have taken place. We’ve gone from flip phones to keyboard phones to touch screens to phones that essentially think for you. And yet it’s taken nearly 20 years to enact a law that prohibits texting while driving, an offense that takes thousands of lives each year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction. This law is simply a step in the right direction toward stopping people from texting and driving, a step that we think should have been taken before 2013.

We’re also not naïve enough to think that enacting this law will stop people from texting and driving, especially while police work to become effective at targeting those who do. In the meantime, we implore our readers not to text and drive. It’s as simple as that. Pull over if a text is so important that you need to send it right that instant, which we’re guessing it isn’t. We know you’ve heard it a million times, but there is no text message worth ending your life or someone else’s.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.