Our View: Driving distractions are avoidable

DKS Editors

Ohio Legislature is considering passing a bill targeting distracted drivers. If it becomes law, the penalty for texting behind the wheel could carry a $150 fine per offense.

Nationally, there is no law against texting and driving. AAA East Central has said its legislative priorities for 2011 include teen driver safety and texting bans in Ohio.

The recent death of a Kent State student, who was hit by a driver who was reaching for his cell phone charger, is a terrible incident, but an ever-increasing one.

The ability to instantly talk to someone in a brief, typed message has become the norm for our generation. That, combined with a young sense of invincibility, puts us in a mindset where we think something as tragic as a car accident couldn’t happen to us, especially from taking our eyes off the road for even just a few seconds.

Newer technology is now making it possible for drivers to text and update Facebook hands-free in their vehicles.

General Motors has a test car that uses an Onstar application that allows drivers to send and receive texts and Facebook updates while driving.

Bluetooth headsets allow drivers to talk hands-free, but the distraction is still there.

According to drivinglaws.org’s “Ohio Driving Laws and Cell-Phone Legislatior,” three Ohio cities currently have laws against texting and driving. In Brooklyn, Ohio, a driver cannot use a mobile telephone unless the driver maintains both hands on the wheel. If the law is broken, the fine can run from $35 to $100.

More than ever, there are many things in our lives that can distract us from paying attention to the road. Cell phones, iPods and GPS units are all tricky devices and usually need our full attention to operate. There is no safe way to handle one device while steering in a car without some distraction.

Despite the ability to text and drive, we should take another look at the consequences of driving and texting. A life was taken this past week due to an avoidable distraction.

Waiting to forward a text or to take a photo and upload it to Facebook can take a backseat while the car is in motion. Put the phone down and drive.