I recently read that the Governor’s Highway Safety Commission (doesn’t that sound like an important group?) is pushing for a stronger ban on vehicle driver’s cell phone use in the State of Ohio. Given what I have read about our current law, I can see why the Commission would push for it. And what is today’s law? If someone is under 18 years old, they can be pulled over if an officer sees them texting and driving. 18 years old and older can only be pulled over as a secondary violation (i.e they were already speeding or ran a read light, etc.). So somehow a policeman is supposed to decide (a) a person is texting and driving AND (b) they are under 18 years old. Not gonna happen. Oh by the way, talking on the cell phone (isn’t that an equal distraction?) is not banned.
First off, I totally agree that distracted driving is an issue. I see it all the time. Someone is driving erratically, I generally say “they are on their cell phone”. And that is usually true. In a perfect world, we should take away all distractions from drivers. But that will never happen.
However, there seems to me to be a more important point to make.
More importantly, to me addressing a “driver’s texting ban” is an issue of priorities. I believe that organizations (and people) should only focus on a few, critical issues at a time. When an organization or person tries to address too many things, nothing gets done. Case in point, it took Ohio’s legislature three years to pass the current cell phone texting and driving law! How hard can it be? Could this issue really require three years of time, consideration and deliberation to be put into law? When the Legislature tries to tackle dozens of issues at once, all of them get delayed, distracted and extended.
We have some huge problems in Ohio. Unemployment and underemployment are way too high. Our budget is way out of balance. Young people are leaving because the quality of life is not as good as elsewhere. Medicare and Medicaid are budget killers. Our school system funding is messed up. You can probably add a couple other huge, important issues to this list. My point is this. Please have the Legislature focus on the (few) big issues and try to fix them. Then we can move down the list. For me, texting and driving is not on the top five priority list. If the Legislature keeps trying to address every issue, no issue will get its true attention.
By the way, the “Governor” part in the “Governors’ Highway Safety Commission” has nothing to do with “Governors”! This group is made up of the safety directors of the states. I guess “State Safety Directors’ Highway Safety Commission” didn’t sound like such a cool group name. Whether any State’s Governor supports this group is not important – the state safety directors just wanted to use the name. There has to be some irony there.