Motoring safety is concern for everyone

Thursday, June 12, 2003

The National Transportation Safety Board believes all states should make it illegal for inexperienced drivers to use cell phones behind the wheel of an automobile.

The board says all the other states should follow the lead of New Jersey and Maine, which have already passed laws prohibiting drivers with learner's permits from using cell phones or other wireless devices while driving.

Considering the need for highway safety, the safety board certainly makes a no-cell-phone-use-while-driving law sound like a good idea.

Harvard University researchers said last year that drivers talking on cell phones was responsible for killing 2,600 people and injuring 330,000 more each year in U.S. auto accidents.

Inexperienced drivers certainly need to pay attention to what they're doing. But it's only common sense that all motorists, regardless of age, should concentrate on safe driving when they are behind the wheel.

Pay attention to the road. This includes tuning the radio, adjusting the CD player, applying make-up, eating and drinking fast food and beverages, combing your hair, shaving, looking at maps, retrieving information from a personal digital assistant device (which led to state Rep. Rod Jetton's fender-bender last week), dealing with fussy children, grabbing for the lit cigarette that drops in your lap or even adjusting the rearview mirror on busy streets and roads.

So, do we need laws restricting all of these activities? Some of them? Which ones?

Perhaps we all need to do whatever we can to set good examples as motorists and teach those safety considerations to our children.

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