Whitesburg KY

‘Texting’ law may save some

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, one in three teenagers sends at least 100 text messages each day.

It’s an unbelievable statistic, particularly for those who didn’t grow up with phones in their pockets. Freed from cords and land lines, mobile phones off er communication nearly every place a person goes. Text messaging has opened another avenue for easy and mobile communication for a person on the go.

The ability to stay in touch electronically is boundless — or nearly boundless.

A bill approved by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear bans text messaging for those who are behind the wheel of a vehicle. After the law goes into effect this summer, off enders will receive courtesy notices until January 2011, when a $25 fine will be levied for the first off ense. A second off ense brings a $50 fine.

That’s a negligible penalty for many people, and enforcement will be a challenge. It’s going to be difficult for officers to tell the diff erence between a person dialing a cell phone and one tapping out a text message.

But simply banning the practice is a recognition of how dangerous it can be, and as a deterrent the law will make the majority of drivers think twice about sending a text message from behind the wheel.

The traffic safety statistics alone should be enough to frighten most drivers away from the practice. A study released in July by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the collision risk was 23 times higher for drivers sending text messages on the move.

The practice is said by some to be as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than drinking and driving. …

This new law won’t completely eradicate texting while driving any more than laws against drunk driving and not using your seat belt have ended those practices. But there’s no doubt that having this ban on the books will help save some drivers from themselves, and from the stupidity of others who choose text messaging over traffic safety.

— Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer

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