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Ban on texting

Posted: February 17, 2011 11:39 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Camden City Council made the wise move some time ago to prohibit people from sending text messages while they’re driving, a practice that is unquestionably dangerous but is common, especially among teenagers. Now it appears that the General Assembly might pass a statewide ban on texting despite the fact that there are still several senators who feel such a prohibition would be an infringement on drivers’ rights. But making that argument makes no more sense than saying that speed limits pose a similar danger on the rights of individuals.

Sen. Jake Knotts, who was once an intractable foe of seat belt legislation, heads a Senate Judiciary subcommittee which earlier this week reported out a bill that would ban texting, charging violators a fine and points against their licenses. It also has a provision that would allow first-time offenders to attend a safety course and thus avoid the monetary and license penalties. That’s reasonable.

Ironically, one reason that legislators might finally pass such a measure is the fact that towns such as Camden have already done it, with more local ordinances on the horizon. Columbia’s mayor has signaled that such a law might be passed in the capital city, and the action of local councils makes it appear that statewide lawmakers are paralyzed with fear.

It’s time for a statewide ban on texting.

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