Put down the phone behind the wheel

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 4 2014 | 1:33 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:09 am in

I lose count of how often I see a driver looking down at their lap with a glow of a cellphone screen illuminating their face as they ride the centerline. Or, how often a driver blatantly holds his or her phone near the windshield as if that makes it safer and less illegal.

Although Iowa is one of 41 states that prohibit texting while driving, Iowa’s distracted driver law is one of only four considered secondary, which means an adult cannot be pulled over on the mere suspicion of texting. Therefore, it’s very difficult to enforce and so the problem worsens.

We have become a society that “must share this right now!” and simply can’t wait to read that text, compose a witty status update, a clever tweet, a creative insta-whatever, or announce the obvious “I’m running late ... .” How did we ever do without constant communication?

Statistics have been regurgitated time and again reporting accidents and deaths tolls in relation to texting and driving; the numbers are mind-blowing, so I encourage you to take a look. I don’t have a solution.

Some ideas are evolving already: Laws in place that (sort of) prohibit texting while driving, an app with “drive mode” that disables texting ability, anti-texting and driving pledges, blogs and educational websites.

Will enforcing more stringent legal action reduce driver distractedness? I don’t know. Do your part: Put down your phone and join me in writing our legislature to seek a solution to this serious issue.

Gina Molby

Cedar Rapids

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