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It's only texting

May 22, 2014 - Blaine Hyska
Here’s why the chances that you will be run down by a texting driver are increasing.

According to The Associated Press, a Whitehall, Wis., driver who had texted minutes before striking and killing an elderly woman in a crosswalk will avoid jail if he complies with his sentencing conditions in Trempealeau County.

Forty-one-year-old Timothy Peterson sobbed and shook with his head in his hands when Judge John Damon sentenced him to a five-year diversion agreement which requires him to serve 200 hours of community service. Peterson must spend half of that time talking to teens about the dangers of texting and driving.

Eighty-six-year-old Cecelia Killian was killed Jan. 9, 2013 as she crossed a street in Independence, Wis.

Peterson's cellphone showed he had texted on his cellphone two minutes before the crash.

How would you feel if that was your mother? Would you be satisfied with the no-jail-time sentence? Actually, you are probably contributing to lenient sentences for texting drivers.

Think about it. What would you do if you spotted the driver next to you taking a couple of swigs out of a bottle of Jack Daniels?

I’m guessing you would be dialing 9-1-1 on your cell phone in a heartbeat.

Now, what would you do if you spotted the driver next to you texting and driving?

I’m guessing you would probably do nothing, because, after all, it’s only texting.

Actually, texting and driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Look it up. Driver safety tests show a texting driver is as bad as a drunk driver.

The problem is public perception. Since everybody’s texting and driving, no one does anything about it. Police see it, but they don’t do anything.

Texting and driving is harder to prosecute. You can tell a drunk driver as soon as you stop him or her. They smell like alcohol and fail the sobriety tests. There are all kinds of blood tests for it.

To prosecute a texting driver, you need subpoenas for cell phone records to prove your case. That means you need to go before a judge and that’s a lot of time and paperwork. It’s easier to ignore, so it never gets done.

Besides, everyone’s texting and driving, so it’s OK. Until it’s your mother.

Next time you spot a texting driver, think of that cellphone as you would a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Dial 9-1-1 and get texting drivers off the street.



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