Tougher laws or not, texting while driving bad ideas

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You've probably seen that Volkswagen commercial with a theater full of young people who are distracted by a text while watching a driving scene, to look up to see the car had crashed.

"Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel," flashes the message on the screen. "A reminder to keep your eyes on the road."

McCook Community College was giving students a chance to learn the same lesson first hand, in a safe way, in a driving simulator at the True Hall parking garage today.

In 2011, 23 percent of auto collision involved a cell phone, or 1.3 million crashes.

If you spend only 5 seconds looking at your phone, you've covered roughly the equivalent of a football field, at 55 mph.

More than three-fourths of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving.

The facts contradict that belief -- a texter spends approximately 10 percent of their driving time outside their lane.

Nebraska already prohibits all drivers from texting, and all novice drivers from cell phone use.

But one of the bills under consideration this year would reclassify that texting prohibition from a secondary offense to a primary -- you could actually be stopped if an officer believes you are texting.

Another bill would do the same for seat belts, also currently a secondary offense.

We're always distressed to see someone talking or texting while driving city streets, especially when those streets are covered with ice and snow.

Whether or not the laws are changed to put more teeth into enforcement, allowing yourself to be distracted by your smartphone or tablet is a bad idea.

Check out the Volkswagen video here: http://bit.ly/216rK4t

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