Jefferson City News Tribune Editorial: Ban texting while driving

The Jefferson City News Tribune today came out in strongly in support of the proposal to ban texting while driving in Missouri:

Text While Driving by OzLady on FlickR

We urge lawmakers to approve life-saving legislation to expand the ban on texting while driving.

Drivers younger than age 21 now are prohibited by state law from the distracting and deadly practice of texting while driving. We encourage legislators, who convened Wednesday, to extend the ban to all motorists. . . . 

To that end, we encourage lawmakers and our readers to watch an 11-minute documentary recommended to us by Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker. . . .

It features testimony from a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper who responded to a fatal accident involving a student who was texting while driving, as well as the teen’s mother.

But equally, perhaps more, powerful are the brief stories told by young people whose lives were changed as a result of accidents involving texting while driving.

One is a young man who killed a bicyclist; another is a surviving sister; yet another is a victim who suffered severe head injuries.

Their stories are poignant and heart-wrenching, particularly because the accidents that altered their lives were preventable.

Distracted driving is neither a political nor partisan issue.

The ban on texting while driving has been introduced by Senator Ryan McKenna as SB 11.  See full bill text and more information here.

About 900 people are killed and 55,000 injured in traffic injuries and fatalities in Missouri in any given year.  One of the top goals in the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation's Vision of Bicycling and Walking in Missouri is to cut the bicycle and pedestrian injury and fatality rate in half while simultaneously doubling the amount of bicycling and walking.

That is one reason MoBikeFed's 2011 Legislative Platform includes support for the ban on texting while driving and for other measures that reduce distracted driving.

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