In the latest campaign against texting and driving, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a sample state law that would authorize police to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving. It's intended to help states that are crafting new laws to prohibit texting while behind the wheel.
While some states have already adopted laws that prohibit texting while driving, not all of them consider it a primary offense — meaning that the driver must first be pulled over for a primary violation like speeding in order to be cited for texting.
I often discourage my friends from doing texting while driving, but I don't think these laws are necessary. Eating while driving is dangerous as well, but we don't have laws that ban it. These recent texting and driving bans open up a flood of other questions. There a dozens of driver distractions that are equally as dangerous as texting and driving but we don't have laws to ban them. What's next? Will the NHTSA create a sample law that gives police power to pull women over for applying lipstick while driving? Or how about to stop men who are shaving at the wheel? Yeah, I've seen that, too.
It's next to impossible to outlaw all the little things people do while driving. NHTSA says that nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver. But it doesn't tell us how many of these "distracted drivers" were texting. Unless we ban all possible distractions, I don't see the reason to single out texting. I'd prefer for our lawmakers to spend time on more important issues. What do you think?