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Posts tagged: texting while driving

Hands-free texting still dangerous

WASHINGTON — Using voice commands to send text messages and emails from behind the wheel, which is marketed as a safer alternative for drivers, actually is more distracting and dangerous than simply talking on a cellphone, a new AAA study found.

Automakers have been trying to excite new-car buyers, especially younger ones, with dashboard infotainment systems that let drivers use voice commands do things like turning on windshield wipers, posting Facebook messages or ordering pizza. The pitch has been that hands-free devices are safer because they enable drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

But talking on a hands-free phone isn’t significantly safer for drivers than talking on a hand-held phone, and using hands-free devices that translate speech into text is the most distracting of all, researchers found. Full story.

I can tell you from personal experience this is true. My phone has a talk text function that I've tried to use with little success. The reason it's so distracting is that it sends goofy messages which I'm then tempted to correct. Bottom line? No text is so urgent that it can't wait 'til you're off the road.

Have you used your phone's talk/text function?

Idaho: 130 texting charges since July 1

POST FALLS - Few local drivers have been cited under Idaho's texting law that went into effect July 1, but there were 130 statewide during the first three months.

Local law enforcement officials say the law has been difficult to enforce, but supporters argue the statute is still a deterrent and a step toward making roads safer especially with younger drivers who tend to text more.

“This law, as it is written, is nearly impossible to enforce because we cannot tell if someone is texting or dialing,” said Kootenai County Sheriff's Office Maj. Ben Wolfinger. “A law must be enforceable to be effective.”  Read more Brian Walker, Cda Press

Do you think texing-while-driving bans are working? Have you ever texted while driving?

House OKs Texting While Driving Ban

After years of debate, the Idaho House has passed a ban on texting while driving, voting 53-17 in favor of legislation proposed by Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene. The bill, 1274a, now returns to the Senate for concurrence in a House amendment that removed an exemption for law enforcement or emergency vehicles; they said they didn’t want or need the exemption, and Hammond backed the amendment. The Senate passed the original bill Feb. 21 on a 29-6 vote. In January, an 18-year-old Caldwell woman, Taylor Sauer, died in a Idaho freeway crash while texting. Her family offered tearful testimony in favor of the bill in committee hearings in both houses/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Betsy Russell's SR photo: Shauna Sauer addresses the Senate Transportation Committee, accompanied by her husband, Clay, and four surviving children)

Question: Right call?

Protected From Our Own ‘Stupidity’?

The Idaho Senate voted this morning to approve a measure which would ban texting while driving in Idaho. The vote was 29 to 6, with no votes coming from Meridian Sens. Russ Fulcher and Shirley McKague, Caldwell Sen. Curt McKenzie, Cottonwood Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, New Plymouth Sen. Monty Pearce and Dalton Gardens Sen. Steve Vick, all Republicans. … Sagle Sen. Joyce Broadsword, (who voted “yes”) said she had texted while behind the wheel. “I found myself weaving and not being in my lane of traffic,” said Broadsword. “We have to make sure that we're protecting citizens from their own stupidity”/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Who's to protect the people from the Legislature's stupidity?

Twin Falls Bans Texting-While-Driving

Twin Falls City Council has adopted a plan to ban texting-while-driving within its city limits.  The proposal, approved by council members Monday, will not go into effect until later this year.  Council members made the city the first in the state to ban the practice. If a driver is caught texting behind the wheel by police officers in Twin Falls, he will face a $50 fine.  Greg Lanting, councilman for the city, told KTVB television that drivers will be given time to adjust to the new law. “If officers see people they believe are texting they are going to be stopped and it will originally be an education thing trying to get people to realize it is against the law in the city of Twin Falls,” Lanting said/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Would you like to see your community outlaw texting-while-driving?

Boise Cops Can’t Text While Driving

The police department of the largest city in the state is banning texting while driving for its officers on patrol, an interesting move after the Idaho Legislature this year failed to pass such a ban for all Idaho drivers, even with an exemption in it for law enforcement and emergency workers. “There’s growing evidence that texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for too long, and sadly, already has been a deadly distraction on our roads,” Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson told The Associated Press/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here

Question: What does the action taken by the Boise Police Department say about the decision by the Idaho Legislature not to pass a law to ban texting while driving?

House OKs Ban On Text-While-Driving

Rep. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, spoke out against the bill. “There’s a lot of things that are inattentive driving,” he said, that he’s seen drivers do - from reading a newspaper to lighting a cigarette with both hands while driving with their knees. “Those are all just as bad.” Patrick said he thought texting while driving would be difficult to prove. “Just because they’ve got their phone in their hand doesn’t prove anything.” Patrick said he doesn’t text and drive, but said, “I also don’t read a book and drive, I don’t put on lipstick - well, I don’t any time.” Said Rep. Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, “It seems to me that we’re passing a statute here that cannot be enforced”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Critics say that texting-while-driving is hard to prove. What do you think?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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