If Congress really wants to put forward some meaningful legislation they need to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Full stop. Few things in the world can't wait until a driver gets from point A to point B.
Friday night we had a surprise as we pulled out of the garage on our way to the art walk. It was snowing. There was none in the forecast but never-the-less it was snowing. Just hard enough to muck up the streets to a fare-thee-well. By the time we reached town my smooth soled shoes made walking a challenge. No one was prepared. We couldn't help but notice as we waited for the walk signals how many people passing by in cars that were on their phones. The same was the case as we headed home, being extra vigil at stoplights as cars were tending to slide through them. Too many drivers were on their phones.
It's not unexpected around here because Idaho has no penalty for talking or texting while driving. But we were lucky. We got home without incident.
A sixteen year old in Washington, from which we are maybe 15 miles away, wasn't so lucky. Having her license for a mere three weeks, she didn't have the experience to handle the icy conditions. She lost control and crashed. While talking on her cell phone with her boy friend. He heard it all. She died. On December 5th, 2009. No Christmas for that family. Or the boy friend!
To make matters worse, Washington does have a cell phone while driving ban. Especially for novice drivers . I'd consider a sixteen year old licensed for three weeks a novice, wouldn't you?
The law is often broken in Washington because there are no teeth in it. It's a secondary offense making it nearly impossible to enforce. Would a stronger law have spared this young lady? It's hard to say, but if part of driver education is the knowledge of a stiff penalty if caught, it might at least be a deterrence.
People resisted seat belts at first too. I can remember back that far. People would also get used to turning off their cell phones.
I'd bet my life on it. Congress?