A San Antonio, Texas jury recently found a bus driver guilty of reckless driving for causing a rear-end motor vehicle collision while he was texting on his cellphone. The texting driver now could be sentenced up to 30 days in jail. He had requested probation in a plea deal, but District Attorney Susan Reed — who described the verdict as a warning to all who text while driving — said she’d like to see jail time imposed.
“This is setting a community standard,” Reed said after the verdict. “The jury and my office has said, ‘Don’t do this. You need to resist the temptation (to pick up the cell phone). It’s very dangerous.’”
Many of you know I have long crusaded on my blog against driving while texting (DWT). I was stopped in traffic on I-75 last night due to a rush hour wreck and took an informal survey of all of the drivers around me. I would say a good 8 out of 10 were texting while behind the wheel. Granted, traffic was stopped, but the new Georgia law prevents any texting whatsoever while behind the wheel. I wonder whether the newly enacted Georgia law against TWD is having the desired effect. U.S.D.O.T. studies on pilot programs show texting while driving has declined 68 percent in Hartford and 42 percent in Syracuse. It is too early to tell whether the Georgia law is having the same effect. Additionally, On Sept. 21, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the 2010 National Distracted Driving Summit by announcing new anti-distracted driving regulations for commercial truck and bus drivers, rail operators and drivers transporting hazardous materials.
With this must exposure on the issue, no one in Georgia, or the United States for that matter, can really claim they weren’t aware of the hazards associated with driving while texting. Awareness is up. Now we just need compliance.