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Time for texting drivers to get the message

The message is a simple one: stop texting while driving. It comes from safety experts, researchers and just about anyone who has seen the now commonplace sight of a driver with downcast eyes focused on texting rather than on the road.

Distracted driving, in the form of texting or talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel, is wreaking havoc on Wisconsin's streets and highways, and across the nation. Every three hours, someone is killed in a car accident linked to distracted driving.

More than 3,000 preventable, needless deaths are caused by distractions such as cell phones, electronic tablets, GPS and other electronic gadgets.

While technology has made it much easier for us to do some important things -- such as communicate with the written word -- it has also made it easier for us to ignore important things, such as the road we're driving on and the traffic around us.

All of those senseless tragedies on our roads recently prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to make a groundbreaking proposal to prohibit the use of personal electronic devices while driving. It would mean no more cell phone conversations, whether the device is handheld or hands-free.

The only exception would be for emergencies: reporting a drunken driver or a car accident or some other roadway danger.

Will the ban be embraced by all? There will undoubtedly be staunch opposition from many corners, much of it from reasonable people with the best of intentions.

So far, 10 states have banned cell phone use by drivers; 35 have banned texting.

Here in Wisconsin, we have a ban on texting while driving, but drivers can still use handheld phones to make or receive calls.

Source: Washington Post: "Time for distracted drivers to hang it up," Dec. 18, 2011

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123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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