Texting madness 

Texting madness

The government shouldn't have to tell people not to drive while texting, any more than it should have to tell them not to drive while blindfolded, or steering with their feet. But we've all learned that some people do have to be told, repeatedly, to refrain from actions that endanger themselves and others. And even after the warnings, some of them will continue to offend until rather severe punishment is imposed, or until they've killed themselves and a carful of innocent people to boot.

The Arkansas legislature approved a couple of laws earlier this year directed at the problem of distracted driving. One prohibits texting, another forbids cell-phone use by drivers under 18. The police are now taking up enforcement of the new laws and finding difficulty in doing so, because of the vague way in which the statutes were written. Do your best, officers, we advise, until the legislators can make corrections when they meet again in January. That's supposed to be a session for fiscal matters, but a two-thirds vote will allow other items to be considered. Surely two-thirds of the Arkansas legislature is pro-life.

Studies have shown that drivers texting and talking on cell phones are as dangerous as drivers who're intoxicated. The federal Transportation Department says 5,870 people were killed in the U.S. last year and 515,000 injured because of distracted driving, and most of that distraction was done by electronic devices. (Those numbers are far too low, incidentally. It's harder to prove that a driver was texting when he ran into the school bus than that he had alcohol in his blood stream.)

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and others are backing legislation that would require states to ban texting and e-mailing while driving or lose 25 percent of their federal highway money. That would help. So would a citizens' group, something like MADD, which agitates tirelessly against drunken drivers. Texters and cell-phone talkers have earned a resolute adversary too.


Many deliberate lies are told about President Obama's proposed health-care reform, but there's a lot of hard-core stupidity in the opposition too. Investor's Business Daily, a right-wing newspaper headquartered in Los Angeles, editorialized on July 31: “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.” Hawking has always lived in the United Kingdom, one of the most famous Englishmen of his time. He responded to the Daily: “I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”


Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
  • Like wrestling

    So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family?
  • Trade places

    I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Talking baseball

    • I loved Bill Elder "calling" the Travs games on the road. He did it by…

    • on May 22, 2018
  • Re: Talking baseball

    • 1090 was Little Rock's own Mighty 1090 KAAY, the greatest radio station ever. But i…

    • on May 22, 2018
  • Re: Ways to serve

    • A sharper distinction between example of Outstanding Character and No Character could not have been…

    • on May 21, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation