On Tuesday the U.S. government banned "texting" on handheld devices by drivers of large commercial trucks and buses. This extends the list of existing bans on texting -- drivers of government vehicles are already banned from texting; many states ban it for drivers of all motor vehicles; and many employers ban it for employees who drive while on the job.
Not that a law has ever stopped drivers from doing anything illegal -- such as drinking and driving. Yet texting has become a particularly odious compulsion. Having recently witnessed 20-something nieces and nephews who couldn't get through a family holiday dinner without checking their cell phones and texting at the dinner table, I can tell you that their compulsion to text defies common courtesy and, I'm sure, safety when they take their habits on the road.
Even state laws that ban texting while driving often view it as a secondary offense -- meaning you'll be cited for it only if you're pulled over for something else, like speeding. Personally, I'd like to see all these bans stipulate that a driver can be pulled over for the sole reason of texting.
Hey, I don't want police officers to spend their valuable time on frivolous citations, but if drivers started getting significant tickets for texting -- along with increased car insurance rates -- maybe we could make some inroads on this nasty habit.