Editorial: New text ban makes drivers think before hitting “send”

Staff Editorial

Illustration by Stephanie Perez

What are we supposed to do in the car now that we can’t text? Looks like the only options now are to be safe and drive.

The city of Amarillo has passed a new law that will go into affect next month.

The law prohibits any kind of cell phone use by drivers and carries a hefty fine of $200 for those caught in violation of the law. Seems like a pretty hefty price to pay to send a text. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, however.

Plenty of arguments have been made about this issue, but the simple fact of the matter is that the safety of other drivers and oneself is just not worth the risk.

Many campaigns and advertisements have been started and have aired warning of the dangers of texting and driving, but it seems as though most of those attempts fall on deaf ears.

People of all ages still can be seen daily on the streets hitting the send button on their phones while holding up tons of traffic behind them.

That’s not exactly the desired definition of multi-tasking.

While statistics in Amarillo could not be found regarding texting-related traffic accidents, the nationwide statistics are worth a listen.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, at least 23 percent of car accidents in 2011 were linked to cell phone usage. The site also explains that texting while driving is responsible for 11 teen deaths a day.

Those numbers are pretty frightening, and one would think they would serve as a discouragement to all drivers to avoid cell phone usage while operating a vehicle.

The problem lies not only with teens but with adults. The site also explains that 27 percent of adults have sent or received text messages while driving.

Thanks for the example, mom and dad.

Many are going to disagree, but honestly, just put the cell phone away. It isn’t that important.

If nothing else, think of everything you can avoid simply by waiting the short 10 minutes it takes to get home or to your destination.

Now drivers can expect their wallets to get about $200 lighter every time they hit send.

That definitely sounds better than the alternative of a totaled car or worse (Insert devastating death headline here).

The ban might be a hassle or inconvenient for some, but if it’s really that big of an emergency, just pull over to the side of the road and take care of business. Otherwise, it can wait.

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