Derrick Z. Jackson


Should Massachusetts Have a Ban on Text Message Driving?

In a recent article in the Boston Globe, writer Derrick Z. Jackson addresses the ongoing movement toward banning text messaging while driving. Nineteen states have already set implemented bans on texting while driving and the national government has also made moves toward nationalizing the movement. President Obama called distracted driving a “deadly epidemic” and a “menace to society.” The President has already banned text-message driving for federal employees.

It doesn’t stop with the President, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says “I’m on a rampage about this, and I’m not going to let up.’’ Even the CTIA, the wireless industry lobbying group, officially supports bans on text messaging while driving. The lobbying group has also adopted a “neutral” stance on bans of all hands/hands-free communication.

The vice president for research at the National Safety Council, John Ulczycki, released a statement to New York Times regarding the matter.

“2009 will go down as the year that we got national consensus on the dangers of texting. Hopefully, 2010 will be the year we get the same level of attention, if not consensus, on the dangers of conversation.’’

A Virginia Tech study showed that texting increases the risk of an accident 23 times and any use of a cell phone quadruples your risk. Even though studies show the facts, legislation has still not been passed to ban or limit the use of cell phones on the road. A city wide ban has been implemented in Boston on text-message driving but drivers all over the state continue to face injury and death due to distracted driving.

Jackson from the Globe believes “Baddour and Wagner,” Massachusetts House and Senate Chairmen, “need to stop negotiating over outdated nuance when we are talking about the hi-tech equivalent of driving drunk.”

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