Proposed Texting Bill Makes Us Criminals

published by Andrew Flusche on December 5, 2012

Press release (PDF)
Proposed bill
Current texting while driving law
My article about the pedestrian case

Here’s the deal folks. Delegate Cline is trying to make us criminals. If you’ve ever used your smart to stream Pandora in the car or used Google Maps for navigation, that includes you. Heck, if you’ve ever received a text message (even without reading it!) while driving, you’d be guilty of reckless driving under Cline’s proposed bill.

Instead of the narrowly-written current ban on simply texting while driving, Cline’s bill makes it reckless driving to “use” a smart while driving, except for “verbal communication.”

In other words, if your is in “use” and you’re behind the wheel, you’re guilty of a misdemeanor. Smart, right?

The change is based on a tragic case where a driver (who allegedly opened a text message while driving) struck and killed a pedestrian. The judge dismissed the reckless driving charge against the driver, saying that the legislature had deemed texting to be a minor offense.

It’s incredibly sad when anyone gets killed or injured. However, the solution isn’t to criminalize perfectly safe and routine activities. Doing so will just open up law-abiding citizens to over-zealous prosecution. It certainly could be a great racket to raise fine money for the Commonwealth!

Hopefully this bill will die in committee in January. If not, lock your smart in your trunk.

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