Slashdot – August 29, 2009:

The NY Times reports on legislation in Utah which harshly penalizes people who cause fatal car accidents while texting. Instead of merely facing a fine, offenders may now get up to 15 years in jail — the same as drunk drivers.

“In effect, a crash caused by such a multitasking motorist is no longer considered an ‘accident’ like one caused by a driver who, say, runs into another car because he nodded off at the wheel. Instead, such a crash would now be considered inherently reckless. ‘It’s a willful act,’ said Lyle Hillyard, a Republican state senator and a big supporter of the new measure. ‘If you choose to drink and drive or if you choose to text and drive, you’re assuming the same risk.’ The Utah law represents a concrete new response in an evolving debate among legislators around the country about how to reduce the widespread practice of multitasking behind the wheel — a topic to be discussed at a national conference about the dangers of distracted driving that is being organized by the Transportation Department for this fall.”

Should texting while driving have the same penalties as drunk driving?

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  1. bobbo, as bad? says:

    Its much WORSE! Drinking has many redeeming beneficial aspects to it.

    Texting==none. It should be on a par with masturbating in public.

  2. Jägermeister says:

    Yes, it’s impaired driving.

  3. SN says:

    I actually think texting while driving is worse. At least then you’re sober and should know better.

  4. Weary Reaper says:

    Many legislators have thus far made a distinction between texting and dialing, though researchers say dialing creates many of the same risks.

    No shit?

    We really do need to pass a law, requiring some minimum level of intelligence to qualify as a legislator.

  5. pfkad says:

    I only text when I’m driving drunk.

  6. SN says:

    I only text when I’m driving drunk.

    If cartoons have taught me anything, it’s that the two dangers would cancel each other out.

  7. MikeN says:

    They should ban texting while driving, and talking on the cell phone while driving, and eating while driving.

  8. Stopher2475 says:

    On average I’d say worse. At least a drunk driver is trying to watch the road. Of course that doesn’t count for the super drunk driver like that chick who went down the wrong side of the highway.

  9. Kittyburgers says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ttNgZDZruI

    Here is an advert from the UK

  10. ran6110 says:

    #7 Don’t for get putting makeup on or shaving…

  11. muoncapture says:

    How many of you here have posted your comments from you cell phone? While driving?

  12. Kanjy says:

    Maybe if traffic weren’t so congested and slow, it wouldn’t be a problem. I see many people texting on the freeway when the traffic is just creeping along. Perhaps these people are trying to compensate for lost time in the car on the freeway, or more likely, they’re probably just bored.

  13. Jägermeister says:

    #9 – ran6110

    Or taking drugs

  14. Slaphappy says:

    Why do people text on the phone anyway…it’s a freaking phone.

  15. Greg Allen says:

    >> bobbo, as bad? said, on August 29th, 2009 at 6:24 am
    >> Its much WORSE! Drinking has many redeeming beneficial aspects to it.

    I agree that texting is worse — because it is a clearheaded, deliberate reckless behavior.

    There are effective treatment programs for alcoholics. Are there treatment programs for killer narcissists?

    >> Texting==none. It should be on a par with masturbating in public.

    Texting is great — just pull the damn car over! I suppose the same could be said for your other issue. 😉

  16. Greg Allen says:

    >> Slaphappy said, on August 29th, 2009 at 8:45 am
    >> Why do people text on the phone anyway…it’s a freaking phone.

    I’ve wondered why kids text each other instead of talking — it strikes me as a way to make their friends virtual.

    On the other hand, there are times when I would MUCH rather get a text. — like a meeting reminder, party invitation, directions to a home., overdue book notice, etc.

  17. Greg Allen says:

    How hard would it be to invent cell-phone jammers that only work inside a car?

    I could support those being mandatory for all new cars — assuming the technology is safe and solid.

  18. noname says:

    # 16 Greg Allen,

    “How hard would it be to invent cell-phone jammers that only work inside a car?”

    No jammer needed. The phone GPS knows your velocity. If the velocity is above 10 mph just disable the phone. It can also tell by tower triangulation. Either way if the phone velocity is above 10 mph just disable the phone.

  19. Jess Hurchist says:

    I’ve always thought that the motor car is a deterministic environment and (like aircraft I believe) there are only 3 causes for a crash

    – Weather conditions
    – Mechanical failure
    – Driver error

    I really don’t see any driver error resulting in a fatality being better or worse than any other.

  20. deowll says:

    Texting? Nothing wrong with that as long as you are parked. While driving? You are out of your freaking mind!

    I have a cousin who died due to putting on lipstick while driving. Okay that’s the best guess because she was alone when she died.

    I’m less concerned by eating or drinking non alcoholic beverages but not in heavy traffic or at high speeds.

  21. Hawkeye says:

    Ontario, Canada passed a law to ban talking on a cell phone (other than a headset), texting, eating, and even drinking anything while driving, comes into effect in October. A couple of years ago I heard of Vermont considering the same type of law, so this stuff is not exactly new.

  22. AdmFubar says:

    I wanna know how dangerous it is to us a police radio while behind the wheel?

  23. sargasso says:

    Nanny state. There, someone had to say it. Nanny, nanny, naaaany!

  24. clancys_daddy says:

    and slaphappy for the win

  25. ECA says:

    Let me add to this..
    How many of you have READ a book/newspaper/Stupid LONG worded sign AND done something stupid while driving..
    How manyu of you have seen the STUNNER of a girl wearing little or nothing along the road and STARED for at least 3 seconds..to look up and find TRAFFIC in front of you.
    How many of us have read the Medicine bottle and wondered…HUH?? I cant drive and take this?? And if it was true 1/2 the USA wouldnt be driving..but, we do it anyway, and we are alright, UNTIL we get that 1 drug that makes us LOOPY.

    Many of us have done these things, and either SCARED ourselves (SPITLESS), HAD a friend do it (and SCARED US SPITLESS), or ended up in accidents and WORSE.

    My aunt HAS TO look at the person SHE is talking to, NO MATTER if they are in the front seat or BACK…SCARED ME SPITLESS, and I took over driving.

    I LOVE taking scenic pictures, BUT IT SUCKS when you are the driver and see the BEST SHOT…and cant do anything about it.

  26. Freyar says:

    It’s been the law for a bit actually. Fine and dandy, no texting while driving. Fine. Should have been common sense to begin with actually.

    I drive mostly at night, so.. at what point can I bitch at the emergency services for having LED emergency lights that are bright compared to the sun? I wonder how many accidents or seizures those cause.

  27. Buzz says:

    At any rate, texting while sleeping is not nearly as dangerous as sleeping while driving.

  28. TheRat says:

    It’s another Labor Day and looks like it will be a record weekend for DUI offenses in Arizona. Even though Arizona DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation it still isn’t preventing drunks from getting behind the wheel.

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