Every day, hundreds if not thousands of Stillwater motorists put themselves and others at serious risk. They get behind the wheel of a 2,000-pound vehicle and drive down busy city streets with their heads bowed in supplication to a hand-held mobile device.

Numerous studies indicate that driver distraction, principally texting while driving, is the cause of 1.6 million accidents and more than 330,000 injuries each year. Even more alarming, 11 teenagers die each day as a result of texting and driving.

Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving when not distracted. Studies have shown that taking your eyes off the road and traffic conditions, even for a few seconds, can lead to catastrophic results. Conservative estimates indicate your attention is distracted for a minimum of five seconds while texting and driving. So if you are driving 55 mph, you are traveling approximately the length of a football field without paying attention to other vehicles or road conditions while you are texting and driving.

The Oklahoma state legislature should move forward with a law that bans texting while driving. Thirty-nine states have enacted such laws. Stillwater News Press readers think it's a good idea. An informal online survey by the News Press clearly indicates that readers – a majority of whom are mobile device users – favor a ban on texting while driving. A whopping 96 percent would support legislation that would make it unlawful to text and drive.

Mobile messaging is woven into the fabric of our world today. But if you absolutely must send a message while you're driving, pull off the road and park your vehicle.

Otherwise, that ever-so-important LOL and IMHO can wait.


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