Texting law drives safety forward

There are few things in this world harder to resist when driving than the sound of a cellphone going off.

No matter how hard each of us might try to fight the urge to look down and see which one of our friends is trying to contact us, we probably each have been guilty of giving in and picking up our phones.

Although this trend has become an all-too-common part of many drivers’ routines, thanks to a new law passed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday, the future of our roads might be getting a whole lot safer.

Editorial Board

Andrew Krietz
Katie Harrington
Greg Olsen
Derek Blalock
Omari Sankofa II
Holly Baranowski

On Jan. 8, Snyder signed legislation prohibiting all cellphone use by Level 1 and Level 2 drivers.

A Level 1 driver is someone who is at least 14 years and nine months old and has taken at least 24 hours of driver’s training courses. Level 2 drivers are at least 16 years old and must complete six months of on-the-road training before graduating to Level 3.

Named Kelsey’s Law, in remembrance of Kelsey Raffaele, a 17-year-old who was killed in a car accident while talking on her phone, the legislation restricts all holders of Level 1 and Level 2 licenses from using their phones while behind the wheel.

By signing this legislation, Snyder hopes to prevent accidents from recurring in the future.

Kelsey’s Law takes a firm approach to the issue of cellphone use while driving, and is a step in the right direction for total driver safety.

Michigan’s graduated licensing system is one of the more progressive programs in the country for teenage licensure and works to teach young drivers safe, thorough practices while learning to operate behind the wheel.

Although holders of Level 1 and Level 2 licences still are at an age when they are required to either drive with an adult or during certain hours, instilling the idea early on that cellphone use should be avoided while driving hopefully will leave a lasting impression.

Although, as Level 3 license holders, most college students are outside the jurisdiction of this law, the principle behind it is a universal goal we should work toward.

The safety of yourself and the ones around you, always should be the primary focus when getting behind the wheel — an idea that shouldn’t require a law to be enforced.

Other cities in Michigan have established policies that restrict the use of consuming food or beverages when driving, as well as cellphone use.

These laws are steps in the right direction toward making our roads a safer place. But as role models for younger drivers, it is our responsibility to send the right message, even without laws in place.

While legislation, such as Kelsey’s Law, drastically will help improve the mind-set of young drivers, we shouldn’t wait years for its effects to be seen.

Each of us has the power to make a conscious decision not to look down at our phones while driving.

As hard as it might seem, when considering the consequences cellphone use might cause, we all can agree the text can wait.

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