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Doing away with distractions

Using cell phones to text while driving is getting way out of hand.

It would be safe to say that just about any of us could report a near miss in the traffic accident area that could be related to a 'young' person placing more emphasis on communicating with a friend than paying attention to what is going on on the roadway.

Information released this week supports this view. Survey facts announced by the AAA (American Automobile Association) and Seventeen Magazine, revealed that not only were 86 percent of teens distracted by texting, they also admitted they were distracted and chose to do nothing about it.

Findings stated that "Teen drivers often understand that shooting a quick text message, playing with their radio, or eating while driving is dangerous. However, the overwhelming majority of teen drivers decide to engage in distracted driving behaviors anyway. Almost nine in 10 teenage drivers (86 percent) have driven while distracted, even though 84 percent of teen drivers know it's dangerous."

It's time to put an end to this.

Banning texting/distracted driving was presented as possible legislation in the 2009 North Dakota Legislature but it didn't fly, defeated in the House by a 60-34 vote. Legislation addressing the issue is being prepared for the 2011 session.

This time legislation supporting a ban needs to fly.

All drivers need to be concentrating on the road and driving defensively, with both hands on the wheel, not punching keys on a cell phone.

Making the alternative a law enforcement call with violation penalties and fines will go a long way in making the streets a much safer place for everyone.