Drivers and cellphones just don’t mix

Print Article

Weíre not fans of unnecessary rules and regulations, but the time has come for Idaho to adopt one that will certainly save property and might very well save lives.

Itís this: Strengthening state law to hammer motor vehicle operators using hand-held devices.

Idaho was wise to adopt mandatory seat belt use because somebody mustíve seen these cellphone-abusing fools heading their way. Yet as a state, we havenít gone far enough in discouraging this reckless, self-centered behavior.

Texting while driving is against the law but hard to enforce. Rare tickets and small fines, averaging about $85, simply arenít a deterrent. Some in law enforcement say texting specifically and even distracted driving in general are so hard to pin on drivers that instead they charge violators for inattentive driving, failure to maintain a lane or something similar. Even in the highest offices of state law enforcement, there are calls for more effective education rather than more forceful legislation. We recommend both.

The National Safety Council reports using a cellphone while driving results in 1.6 million crashes annually. One in four car accidents is caused by texting while driving.

A Forbes Business study found 47 percent of adults and 58 percent of high school seniors text while driving.

In 2016, AAA Idaho tried but failed to get the Legislature to adopt a hand-held cellphone ban for motorists.

How many times in the last week have you driven to work, to the grocery store or somewhere more than a few blocks from your home, only to see someone coming at you with eyes downcast and vehicle drifting toward the center of the road? Maybe over it, into your lane? Itís infuriating because itís unnecessarily dangerous. While this pervasive form of distracted driving canít be eradicated, the danger can be diminished significantly with some rational yet strong legislation.

The recent ďadvanceĒ in speaking into your phone and having that message forwarded as a text hardly mitigates the fact that when one of your hands is occupied, youíve compromised your ability to react to a dangerous situation as quickly as you might need to. Having your mouth and mind elsewhere wonít help.

Studies have shown upward of 80 percent of traffic accidents involve driver distraction of some kind. That momentary lapse can and sometimes does prove fatal. While cellphones arenít the only culprits, their pervasive use and abuse is clearly contributing to the problem.

While better driver education programs start their long, slow crawl toward actually changing driving habits, Kootenai County legislators could help make roads safer for all Idahoans by introducing legislation in the next session that would seriously discourage driversí use of hand-held devices. Hereís hoping it doesnít take a spate of fatal crashes to drive the point home.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Hereís what dads really want

June 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Editorís note: This editorial was originally published six years ago today. Itís still true. If you beard-stubbled, equal opportunity gender watchers are still waiting for a movie titled ďWhat Men ...

Comments

Read More

We could be looking at voter turnout wrong

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The quest started out as most modern searches do: Going to Google. ďWays to get young people to voteĒ was entered in the search box. More than 94 million options popped up, and after reading throug...

Comments

Read More

Summerís coming: Letís put our fires out

June 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press North Idahoans hadnít even been able to tear June off their calendars last year before smoke made summer miserable. ďSmoke Alarm: Washington blaze dirties local skies,Ē The Press headline read on Ju...

Comments

Read More

Just ask

June 10, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Our kids are killing themselves. Thatís not a dramatic overstatement in the aftermath of two more Coeur díAlene students taking their lives in recent weeks, but a verifiable, statistically valid fac...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X