Weekly Feature

2009-07-08 / Editorial

Whether it's a law or not, texting is dangerous

Bee Editorial

It always seemed odd to us that talking on one's cell phone while driving became illegal well before texting. Maybe texting technology wasn't as prominent at the time, but today more people are texting, it seems, than talking — especially teens.

Already at a greater risk for automobile accidents, youths need to realize that teens and texting in a Toyota could be a deadly mix.

It appeared that the New York State Legislature — Assembly and Senate — had a no-brainer on its hands and would pass a bill expanding cell phone law to include texting.

For the Assembly it was, but for the Senate, even measures such as this one appear dead in the water as members of this dysfunctional body cannot agree even on who wields the gavel.

Clearly, legislators can't vote on items if they aren't in session.

So that is that. We already know that we, the citizens, can't do anything to force the Senate to work. Anyone who has tried — the governor and judges included — have been unsuccessful. That leaves us, the average citizens, who understand that texting while driving is a bad idea with or without the legal jargon.

Lately, everyone seems to be saying that we have too much government, so let's try governing ourselves through common sense, at least in this case.

The Town of Amherst was on the right track Monday when it supported Council Members Shelly Schratz and Guy Marlette in their text-free town resolution.

Town Attorney Tom Jones is still reviewing the matter for legality, but either way it was worth having the discussion and going on record that the town won't wait for Albany to do its work.

We don't need people sitting on boards to tell us that texting while driving is dangerous. Sure, we know teens today are technology wizards. We don't doubt that some can probably text an entire message without looking. But, one, that breaks the "two hands on the wheel" rule, and two, they have to look at a message when it comes back, and that is when they are definitely not paying attention.

Of course, having a texting law on the books gives police officers a tool to write tickets, but it won't do any good when they arrive on a fatal accident caused by texting.

In reality, the state doesn't need a texting law; we need a common sense course.

Don't prove that you are as dumb as those running the Senate right now. They aren't doing their jobs, and by texting while driving, you, too, aren't doing yours as a responsible driver.

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