Texting while driving has to stop

Texting and driving happens way too often.

There have been too many news stories about accidents occurring because the driver was not looking at the road but rather looking at a cell phone to send or read a text.

It is so dangerous, not only for the person texting but for everyone else on the road: drivers and pedestrians.

Legislators went to great lengths to try to stop people from talking on their cell phones while driving, creating legislation and fines for people who were caught talking and driving.

While that was certainly a wise thing to do and has made streets safer, the texting and driving issue appears to be even more dangerous.

Texters are not looking at the road when they are texting. They are creating the ultimate driving hazard.

Campaigns to raise awareness are certainly applaudable. Carter Mario Injury Lawyers, for example, offers an annual Drive Alive scholarship that focuses on distracted driving, and this has brought attention to the dangers of driving and texting.

But much more needs to be done, and fast.

Legislators need to focus on this matter and come up with hard-hitting, effective laws that curb texting while driving.

State Rep. Kim Rose (D-Milford) is backing some very commonsense legislation and should be praised for her efforts.

She recently announced that among bills she is supporting is SB 697, An Act Requiring Motor Vehicle Insurance Providers to Offer Discounts to Customers Who Download Applications that Prevent Texting While Driving. The bill was heard at a public hearing in the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

“We have laws in place against driving and talking on the cell phone, but we still pass cars swerving on the road because they are either texting or talking on their cell phones,” Rose said. “Last year, a friend of mine lost her beloved son while he was jogging because of a young lady who was driving while distracted. This proposal makes sense. A simple step with an incentive by the insurance providers to customers may spare us from more senseless accidents and future deaths.”

Rose said the “texting while driving” measure would offer a discount on car insurance if a simple cell phone application was downloaded to cell phones. The application uses a phone’s GPS capability to determine movement and typically blocks texting and Web surfing when a vehicle is moving faster than 5 or 10 mph.

That certainly sounds like a step in the right direction. It’s creative, and it has the power to appeal to people where they can feel it the most: in their wallets.

Legislators should be putting their heads together on this one and working with cell phone companies and insurance companies to come up with a number of possible solutions.

And let’s remember that it isn’t just teenagers and new drivers who are texting and driving. This legislation needs to target everyone.

People who text while they are driving — be they teens or adults — are just as dangerous as the person who has too much to drink and gets behind the wheel.