Is Distracted Driving the new Drunk Driving?

motorists – excerpt

Ever wonder why someone might take the wrong turn? Given this image, you can see that the “Do Not Enter” sign is on the right side of the triangular land mass that separates the streets. People who are not familiar with the area, might think the sign is directing traffic away from that street. Is driving down a Muni tunnel entrance like this a case of distracted driving, bad signage, or both?

Distracted driving of any kind can be instantly dangerous. Each April the federal and state governments conduct a public awareness campaign on the dangers of distracted driving that bombards motorists with media messages which leads to increased command-and-control enforcement. There can be many different distractions for drivers but among the most controversial is the use of a mobile electronic device while driving. Drivers should normally refrain from texting while driving. The best way to encourage behavioral change is through ongoing driver’s education and awareness not through government micromanagement. Motorists need to beware that distracted driving does not become the new drunk driving in both stigma and penalties.

Much has been written about the increase in overall traffic fatalities for the past two years which many attribute to distracted driving. The federal government cannot ban distracted driving and instead has encouraged statehouses to deal with the problem. Thirty-nine states have already banned text messaging while driving. Ten states plus Washington DC have banned the use of hand held phones entirely. Should states then criminalize behavior that all drivers engage in?... (more)