Last week, while driving sixty miles per hour on I-170, I noticed a truck loaded with road tar rapidly moving into my driving lane from the right. I jammed on the brakes to avoid an accident. Passing the truck on its right, I noticed the driver was talking on his cell phone oblivious to the accident he nearly caused. Recently, my wife observed a school bus driver with a full load of children taking a left hand turn while talking on a cell phone.
This week’s Sunday New York Times published an in-depth article on the dangers of driving while being distracted by using a cell phone or text messaging. According to the article, only five states ban the use of hand held cell phones while driving. Missouri bans the use of cell phones by novice drivers while Illinois bans the use of cell phones by school bus drivers. The Times article points out that research shows that the use of non-hand held cell phones by drivers is just as distracting as the hand held devices.
It is time that the respective state legislatures of both Missouri and Illinois, with the support of their governors, study seriously this problem. I believe that the use of all cell phones while driving should be banned in both states.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.