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Washington State Becomes First To Ban Texting While Driving

Many states already have laws on the books that ban talking on mobile phones while driving. Since composing text messages is even more distracting than typing a phone number, it seems pretty obvious that texting while driving is dangerous. The lawmakers in Washington agree. Starting January 1, 2008, dri
Many states already have laws on the books that ban talking on mobile phones while driving. Since composing text messages is even more distracting than typing a phone number, it seems pretty obvious that texting while driving is dangerous. The lawmakers in Washington agree. Starting January 1, 2008, drivers caught in the act face fines of over $100 and the confiscation of their phone.I can picture the lobbying groups already: Mothers Against Texting (MAT), Fathers Against Texting (FAT), Students Against Texting (SAT). Wait, students are probably the worst offenders. There's no way a law is going to stop them from replying to their BFF with SMS ASAP, even when driving.

Business users do their fair share of texting and email while driving, as well. I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck in traffic and peeked over at the car next to me only to see the driver pecking away at a BlackBerry. And emailing while in the car is not limited to those creeping along the Garden State's packed highways. They do it when roaring down the Turnpike at 75 miles per hour, too.

Strangely, Washington State's ban on talking while driving won't take effect until July 1, 2008. There is no explanation as to why the two laws don't take effect together. Couldn't Washington have rolled it into one general law: Don't Use Your Mobile Phone At All When Driving?

And what about browsing the web? Or sending MMS messages? Or taking pictures of your passengers while driving (I've actually seen this take place)? It seems to me the law should be more complete. Studies show that any distraction - changing the radio channel, even talking to your passengers - while driving is dangerous. Mobile phones have to be one of the biggest distractions. Shouldn't most uses be banned if the laws are really to be effective?

Maybe MAT, FAT and SAT should take up the rallying cry and make sure Washington goes all the way with the new laws.