by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – We know we shouldn’t do it but most of us do, anyway. And our teenagers do it, too.
When the phone alerts us to a text, Tweet or message on Facebook or Instagram, we pick it up and check it out sometimes, even if we are driving at the time.
For most of us in Missouri, that’s perfectly legal right now. State Rep. Keith English (D) wants to change that. Right now, the law bans those under 21 from texting and driving (or otherwise using a mobile device while behind the wheel). He wants that expanded to include everyone and he is proposing a bill to allow police to pull you over if they see you doing it.
The idea has been introduced to the State Legislature before and has had little support. English says he hopes to find more support from both parties this year but, even if the bill doesn’t get passed, he hopes the news coverage of the idea reminds us all to focus on the road instead of our phone or iPod.
Efforts to stop distracted driving are not only being made in the halls of government. AT&T Missouri* President John Sondag says his company, along with some other mobile providers, are renewing their “It Can Wait” campaign that raises awareness of distracted driving. AT&T offers a free mobile app that, when downloaded and activated, would put your phone into a “Drive Safe Mode”.
Once your vehicle reaches a certain speed, the app blocks incoming calls, messages and other alerts. It automatically sends a reply to those who message you, saying you are currently driving and will see the message when you are no longer operating the vehicle.
The app is available through most app stores or through ATT.com. It can be downloaded by anyone, no matter which mobile provider you use for your phone service.
On the web:
Rep. Keith English: http://www.keithenglishformo.com/
* AT&T is a sponsor of “Missouri Viewpoints”