Does anybody think the driving habits in Missoula Montana are any different than anywhere else in the Country? Missoula enacted a texting ban in the summer of 2009. City Councilman Save Strohmaier felt that a true ban on all cell phone use was what the city needed but in order to appease the opposition a compromise was reached that did not include cell phone or hands free talking and driving. Technology has changed a lot as have trends in cell phone use and driving since 2009. Texting alone has increased so much so that the average US citizen sends 5000 texts annually. This number continues to increase exponentially. A citizen present at the city council meeting stated the public doesn't want laws on prohibiting cell phone use. His answer to the problem was public awareness. I've spoken to thousands of teenage drivers over the last three years and you can talk until you are blue in the face but the truth is that unless there is some penalty associated with cell phone use and driving, the allure and the addiction is simply to great to overcome.When politicians start discussing the issue the first thing everyone says is let's see the data. The data today is not good in favor of a ban. This is because of many factors including failure of the public to be honest about what caused an accident, many who could say what happened do not survive the crash and this is not easily obtainable data.
One of the councilman said the police are too busy to deal with cell phone infractions. He said the police are already too busy to deal with drunk drivers and more serious crimes. Sad to tell you councilman but this is as serious as any murder suspect you have on the loose. We're injuring and killing more people with cell phones than are being injured and killed on the battlefield overseas. The difference is the enemy is us.
No big surprise but at least one concilman wanted to keep hands free use legal. The cognitive studies are in and driving hands free is just as dangerous as holding the phone. We really need to decide whether we as a society believe in taking care of our own or whether we are all expendable to anyone that feels the need to text or use a cell phone while driving.
Drive Safe – X THA TXT
Say NO to Distracted Driving
Jeff Weinstein, Dallas injury lawyer