Texting Bans

Anti-Texting Laws Promote "More Public Awareness"

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Colorado recently joined 27 other states and the District of Columbia in banning texting while driving. But since the ban went into effect a month ago, police haven't issued a single citation. Local radio reporter Kirk Siegler interviewed Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who says "the measure has created more public awareness, and that's a good thing."

[Reporter] SIEGLER: State Representative Claire Levy…pushed Colorado's texting ban through the legislature. Levy is quick to deflect criticism that the state's new law is just a feel-good measure. It's on the books, she says, and that's going to deter some drivers from picking up their phones.

State Representative CLAIRE LEVY (Democrat, Colorado): I mean, look at speed limits. People treat those as just merely a suggestion but—yet there's an awareness of what's a safe speed to travel on a particular highway.

But laws passed in the service of raising awareness aren't just harmless fun. They lend themselves to selective enforcement and profiling. A phone visible anywhere in the car is now a pretext for police to pull over anyone they like.

And just as posted speed limits have little to do with the actual safe speed to travel (on many highways, traveling the speed limit would cause a massive pileup), blanket bans on texting ignore the fact that a quick "ok" sent from a stoplight endangers no one, even if typing out War and Peace in stop-and-go traffic isn't a good idea.

More on texting while driving here.