So, I Suppose Drunk Texting Is Completely Out of the Question
Yesterday, the Post-Dispatch ran a front-page article about efforts to ban texting while driving, and compared them to the crackdown on drunk driving 30 years ago. There are a number of studies showing that texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving, and I do believe the government has a responsibility to create and enforce reasonable safety rules for its roads — so, if laws banning texting while driving substantially reduced accidents, I would support them.
Unfortunately, there is no such evidence. A newly released study by the auto insurance industry found no decrease in auto crashes in states that enacted laws banning texting or talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving. The researchers find this result puzzling, but it could simply be that the law is unenforceable. This is not to say that texting while driving is a good idea, but the government of Missouri (or at the federal level, for that matter) should not be in the business of passing unenforceable, ineffectual laws.
As it stands, if a police officer observes a vehicle moving dangerously, the driver can be ticketed for careless and imprudent driving regardless of the reason behind such reckless behavior. Accordingly, we may not need a law against texting while driving to cut down on the dangers associated with it.