It’s now illegal to text while behind the wheel here in the state of Michigan.
As of this writing, 29 states enforce this law according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Of course, texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road should be avoided, but there are tons of questions about how the law will be enforced.
For example, how will a police officer know for sure that you were thumbing a message into your phone?
I’m told that a patrolman can inspect your phone to see if you sent a message just before he pulled you over. This may be true, but the most time consuming part of texting is preparing the message, so you’re most likely to get busted during the composition stage.
If this is so, why not just clear the unsent message before the policeman approaches your vehicle?
The new law re-introduces questions about other distractions available to drivers. Not all these distractions are technology-based.
Food, drinks, and cigarettes are a constant diversion from the road.
Technical distractions include TV screens, radios, and CD players that feature crawling messages.
The automobile dashboard itself can be a distraction. (“I’m sorry for speeding, officer. I looked down to read my speedometer and didn’t see the speed limit sign.”)
Finally, how are you supposed to use a GPS without looking away from the road?
There’s talk of a possible “10 and 2” law that will encourage drivers to keep both hands on the wheel at all times unless they are shifting or using a turn indicator.
I’m sure we’ll sort all this out as I remember similar confusion when the seat belt law went into effect.
Meanwhile, we can consider other ways to have rules and regulations work for us.
What we really need is a law that enforces spelling while texting.