Ford Motor Co. joins growing fight to ban texting while driving
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on September 23rd, 2009
The push to ban drivers from texting while operating motor vehicles on America’s roadways just got a powerful and influential ally recently — the Ford Motor Co. is the first automaker to embrace a proposed new law that would cut federal highway funding by 25% to states that refuse to outlaw the dangerous practice.
“Ford supports a ban on hand-held text messaging while driving – and we endorse the legislation introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) that would encourage a more rapid transition to hands-free and voice-activated technologies,” Sue Cischke, Ford’s Group Vice President for Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, said in a statement. “This legislative approach addresses a nationwide problem we can all agree is necessary to improve safety.”
Watch this public service announcement from British television (posted on YouTube.com), for a graphic depiction of the dangers of texting while driving a motor vehicle. Caution — this video is very graphic and disturbing.
This is good news for all of us on the roadways, and more needs to be done to pass national laws that will prohibit operators of motor vehicles from texting while driving. All the evidence so far, in study after study, shows clearly that drivers who are distracted by texting instead of keeping their eyes on the road are dangerous, and that means they are involved in a higher rate of accidents.
“At Ford, we think driver distraction is a critically important issue,” Cischke wrote.
So do we.
And by banning texting while driving, everyone will be safer.
There are still other issues, of course. Drivers will still be able to use cell phones while driving — the Schumer bill only addresses texting. Some states have already enacted laws that prohibit cell phone use, while other states permit cell phone use while driving only if they are used with a hands-free, voice-activated or wireless system. Critics argue that that’s an improvement over hand-held cell phones, but that it doesn’t really prevent drivers from being distracted. That’s true, but blasting radios, screaming kids in the back seat and beverages that spill inside the car while driving all can’t be outlawed and they certainly contribute to distraction. At least the texting ban is a start.
In a story in the New York Times, Schumer lauded Ford for taking a position against driving while texting. “Ford deserves credit for stepping up as the first car company to endorse a ban on this dangerous habit,” Schumer said in a statement. “We are gathering a critical mass of support for this bill, which will give us the momentum we need to get it passed.”
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia already have banned drivers from text messaging while operating motor vehicles, according to the New York Times.
Now it’s time for Pennsylvania to follow that lead to protect you, your friends and family members from such unnecessary hazards on the road.