Columbia, SC — As a lifelong S.C. resident and a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, I couldn’t agree more with the Feb. 10 editorial, “Outlaw texting while driving.” Crashes happen fast, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Therefore, driving safely should be the driver’s only focus.
In the past decade, we have seen an increase — across all modes of transportation — in the number of crashes caused by distractions. Such distractions are becoming an epidemic. There is a great deal of data to indicate that cognitive distraction due to cell phone use while driving significantly raises the risk of a crash.
Sensible, proven regulation of behavior on the public roadways is an appropriate government function when it saves lives. In 2011, the NTSB recommended that states enact laws to prohibit the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices by all drivers.
Recently, the NTSB added eliminating distractions in transportation to its Most Wanted List. We know that changing behavior takes good legislation, effective education and strong enforcement. We must act now, and not wait for the number of deaths to escalate before stopping this dangerous behavior.
Robert L. Sumwalt III