Better to be hit by texting driver?
The driver in front of me was stopped at the stop sign. I could see that he had a cell phone in his hand, and either he was using his speakerphone or texting. Either way, he spent more time looking at the phone than at traffic.
Eventually he turned onto State Hwy. 361. Had a police officer watched the truck as it weaved from the northbound lane to the shoulder and back to the center stripe as the driver headed into Port Aransas, he would have stopped the driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The driver, I assume, was not intoxicated, at least, at about 8:30 a.m. I hope he was not intoxicated. But he was not tending to the task of guiding a sizeable vehicle through moderate traffic, driving well below the speed limit.
I know of the driver, though I can’t claim to know him personally. I do know he is old enough to know better, especially since he is married with young children. He was putting his entire family, including himself, at risk, not to mention every other driver on the road that morning.
I have one word for drivers like that: Stoopid!
However, what this guy was doing was legal, thanks to a veto by our darling governor, Rick Perry.
He thinks “distracted driving” legislation is a “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”
Requiring seatbelts is not?
Prohibiting drinking and driving is not?
Requiring sonograms – I won’t got there.
The keys to keeping drivers from texting and driving are information and education, Perry says.
Yeah, right. That worked for drinking and driving and wearing seatbelts. It will work for texting and driving.
What part of “Not!” does Perry not understand?
Both the Texas House and Senate, admittedly not known for doing much that fits in the “smart” column, did approve a bill (HB 242) addressing texting and driving. It’s the one Perry vetoed.
Despite Perry’s veto of HB 242, we will have two new distracted driving laws effective Sept. 1. One bans teen drivers from using cell phones (whether talking or texting) and the other prohibits drivers from using handheld cell phones in school crossing zones.
As it is, drivers under the age of 18 may not use wireless communications devices of any sort. Use of handheld cell phones is prohibited for those with learners permits in the first six months of driving. And, school bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are on board. If you are in a school crossing zone, use of cell phones is prohibited.
Some Texas cities have enacted distracted driving laws of their own. They include Port Aransas, which has an ordinance prohibiting use of cell phones in school zones.
Major cities that have approved their own versions of distracted driving laws are San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Amarillo, Galveston, El Paso, Missouri City and Stephenville.
As far as I know, Perry has done nothing toward educating drivers about the dangers of texting and driving.
Governor, the ball is in your court, and it’s your serve.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at email@example.com, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.