Increase Penalties for Texting While Driving

Target: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

Goal: Increase penalties for texting while driving to limit the number of accidents that occur because of it.

The number of drivers who engage in the act of text messaging while driving is fairly staggering, given the level of danger involved in the action. And yet, with advances in phone technology and hands-free driving, it is likely that this sort of distracted driving will only increase. This represents a dangerous threat.

A study taken from drivers over the course of the year 2011 indicated that 37% of drivers admitted to sending or receiving texts while driving, and that 18% of them admitted to texting while driving on a regular basis. Even more alarming was the revelation that younger drivers (statistically, the most dangerous drivers on the road) engage in texting and driving the most. Yet more alarming still is the study’s concluding statement, which relayed the fact that a large amount of the people polled said that they understood the harmful effects of texting while driving…but would continue to do it anyway.

This final sentence indicates the need for increased legislation related to the topic of texting while driving. Currently, there is no legislature banning texting and driving in eight states, and in an additional five it is banned only for “new” drivers. It must be outlawed in all states in order to preserve public safety.

But even in states where texting and driving is banned, the penalties need to increase; often times, a first offense simply represents a small fine, and fails to have any effect on the driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle. Studies have shown that cell phone use while driving has a comparable effect to driving under the influence of alcohol in terms of potential for causing accidents, and yet DUIs carry much harsher penalties than the penalties for texting while driving.

Harsher penalties need to exist for texting while driving. Any other situation would result in negligence on the part of the U.S. government, and a lack of concern for public safety.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood,

Studies have shown that texting and driving is comparably dangerous to drinking and driving. Why is it that the penalties are not comparable?

Texting and driving is, incredibly, still legal in eight states. Why is this the case? It is responsible for many, many preventable accidents every single year. Worse still, it occurs most among young people, who (statistically) are already the most dangerous drivers on the road to begin with. This is a problem, and it needs to be resolved.

You need to administer harsher penalties for texting while driving. In many states where it is banned, the penalty is hardly more than a small fine; it is often comparable to receiving a parking ticket. Usually, there is no penalty at all regarding the driver’s license to operate a car. Compare this to the usual penalty for drinking and driving, which often results in jail time and a license suspension.

It is arguably as dangerous to text and drive as it is to drink and drive. Make the penalty for texting and driving arguably as harsh as the penalty for drinking and driving.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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