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Monday, September 21, 2009

Klobuchar Joins Movement to Ban Texting While Driving

In other news, senior Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is proposing legislation that would cut federal highway funds by 25% to states that don't ban texting while driving. (That will be on top of whatever money Tim Rounds will lose us with his drinking age proposal.)

Klobuchar joins Senators Hagan, Landrieu, Lieberman, and Menendez in co-sponsoring Senator Schumer's S. 1526, the ALERT Drivers Act. No SHS on the House version yet, but given data that texting while driving makes it 23 times more likely that drivers will run over liberal bloggers and their families, expect more Democratic co-sponsors shortly.

Also expect more silly grumbling about nanny-statism from the Right. That darned nanny state with its drivers licenses and stop signs and speed limits....


  1. hm, so I guess using Federal power to enforce speeding and driving safety falls under the interstate commerce clause? It leaves me confused on who to be more disgusted with: The federal government meddling in issued it has no authority over or the state governments who perpetually cave in to Uncle Sam lest they lose a dime of those federal dollars flying out of the printing press.

    At some point somebody in state government needs to tell the Feds to stuff their depreciated greenbacks where the eagles won't fly.

  2. Eventually, we're going be slapped in the face about this texting thing. Maybe after enough people we know die from text-related accidents?

    Some people have difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time, yet our children and many adults are trying to operate a typewriter that uses keys the size of pin heads while safely operating a 4000 pound motor vehicle, a killing machine on wheels. It cannot be done safely, and that's the key word.

    If you take your eyes off the road, if you lose your concentration because you're emotionally involved in a trivial conversation via texting, if both hands aren't on your steering wheel, you're putting others at high risk. Reaction time is slowed or non-existent, visability of pedestrians is reduced and just staying in your own driving lane becomes a problem. We're seeing a skyrocketing level of text-related accidents, fatalities and injuries. Somebody has to be honest and realize that to safely drive a car is challenging enough without adding a minature IBM Selectric to your lap. Nobody can drive and text safely. Most can't drive and talk without damaging their concentration level.

    Don't ban it because the Feds will take away money...Ban texting because it has no safe place in the car, other than maybe a passenger.

  3. I'm with you, Rod. If states are ignoring the evidence and their responsibility to protect citizens from demonstrably dangerous behavior, then the Feds are justified in getting the job done.

    Roger, it doesn't fall under the commerce cluase; it falls under the "Don't be an idiot" clause. But all those folks texting are interfering with commerce by getting in wrecks, blocking all that interstate truck traffic, and killing off workers.

  4. I agree as well - the states should have fixed this already, its just simple safety. Of course the automakers could help us out a little bit too if they really wanted to - since most phones now have bluetooth - as do a lot of vehicles, the car could simply disable the texting ability while you are in it. definitely would not be a difficult thing to setup.

    This is all just another part of proper driving that is really not being pushed very hard anymore. As i wrote here - http://beadlemessage.blogspot.com/2009/09/schools-lacking-anything.html - I really think that we need the law in place to ban texting while driving, but also we really need better instruction of proper driving as well to make a much bigger difference on our roads.

  5. I agree that texting while driving is a bad idea and the states should take a hand in stopping it. The state issued a driver's license and it is their responsibility to ensure people can drive in safety from other people. The idea that the Federal government has the power to reach into a state and regulate something they think the state SHOULD be doing is insanity. It ridicules the very concept of limited government.

  6. But when the states are acting insane by refusing to take action against behavior that is more dangerous than drunk driving, it's irresponsible to sit back on the sidelines and have a debate about federalism.

  7. Laws and regulations only go so far. What is needed is for people to have the common sense not to do it.

    It's illegal to drive drunk and it's illegal to not wear a seatbelt. There's still a segment of the population that does both despite the fact that drinking and driving is unsafe for the driver and everyone else on the road; and the fact that not wearing a seatbelt is unsafe for the driver.

    Eating and driving can be just as distracting, will lawmakers ban that too? Changing the radio station takes your attention off the road, are lawmakers going to banish those from vehicles?

    What it comes down to is common sense. We have the technology that makes it possible to text and drive at our fingertips. What some simply lack is the will power to PUT DOWN THE PHONE while they should be concentrating on one thing -- driving and paying attention to what is going on around you.

  8. Elisa, I'll take a common-sense solution any day. But if throwing people in jail and yanking their licenses for drunk driving makes sense, so do similar penalties for texting while driving, which creates as much impairment and does so at more times of the day, posing a greater danger to more motorists.

    Eating, changing stations—show me science that says those behaviors cause as much impairment as texting or cell phone conversations (cognitively, I think there's a big difference), and we may have to look at regulations.

    Try this: catch someone texting, take away the drivers license for four years. That should teach some common sense really fast.


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