Cell Phone Usage
I’m running for House of Delegates in District 19 in 2018 and if elected one of the first bills I will introduce is to have further restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving a vehicle. It is the reason for a majority of accidents and is definitely contributing to the traffic problems everywhere.
How many times in the last week have you honked your horn for the person in front of you to because the light changed to green and the person didn’t notice because they were looking down at their cell phone?! I remember reading Dr. Gridlock years ago who said that the first car at a traffic light has a responsibility to pay attention to the light in order to keep traffic moving. I have taken that responsibility seriously and can’t remember the last time someone honked at me, at least for that reason. With timed traffic lights, and people getting delayed each time a light changes, it doesn’t take long for the traffic to get backed up.
All of us have become addicted to our phones to the point that we are constantly looking at them at all times of the day. Even many teachers have given up trying to prevent students from using their phones while in class. We can even use our phones in church, primarily because the Bible is an App on our phone! The only time I’m told to turn off my phone is when I appear in court and we are instructed by the bailiff to not just silence our phones, but we must turn them off or they will be confiscated. Why can’t we have the same rules on the road?
Having grown up in Montgomery County, I have never seen so many accidents in recent years, especially on 270. The cause is clear. According to the NHTSA Website, distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 and another 391,000 were injured, and distracted driving is the result of people using their cell phones while they’re driving. We all know that during rush hour (which is more like rush 6 hours) traffic can speed up and slow down at a moments’ notice. This is the perfect storm for the addicted cell phone user who may simply look down for a split second and then it’s too late…..
In Georgia, Rep. Lumsden is proposing legislation that takes the phone completely out of the hand of the driver with increased penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and 4 points. Washington State recently enacted a law that says you can’t have your cell phone in your hand while you’re driving. If it is in your car, it must be mounted on your dashboard and you can use it as a GPS. This requirement would at least help to keep the phone at eye level so that people won’t look down at their phones. With the phones mounted on the dashboard, the phones are visible for police to see and are out of our hands. In addition to an increased fine and points, we should also consider suspending driving privileges after a 3rd offense. There is no law that is too strict for cell phone usage. No one needs to use their phone while they’re driving unless there is a true emergency.
If you’re not in favor of more stricter cell phone laws, then vote for someone else. However, I know the person behind you will vote for me!