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'A baby is dead in Virginia. Now will the state do something about texting while driving?'

You don’t have to enact a law banning texting while driving to charge this driver with criminally negligent homicide. Make the driver pay a hefty price - lock the driver in prison, real prison, not the county lockup, for a significant amount of time. Publicize it, over and over to get the message across to everyone.

Passing a law no one enforces (my state - I see it daily) to make already criminal behavior “criminal” makes little sense. It is very easy to scan your phone to see what you were doing at the time of the crash, so enforce it, if it is the law, and use it to make the case for criminally negligent homicide.

Much like DUI, public outrage needs to drive behavior of drivers and prosecutors.


One the one hand people complain about too much regulation, and on the other they ask for more laws. It’s a never ending process, but no one can ever legislate away stupid. Like @Mustangman wrote, that driver can be prosecuted right now.

It’s already against the law to text while driving where I live, yet I see it all the time. What do we do? Make texting and driving double-secret illegal?
If you can’t or won’t commit to the resources needed to enforce a law, making an even more draconian law will have little effect. There was a particularly deadly highway close to where I live and there was much clamor to lower its already low speed limit even farther. I said “that road has a perfectly good speed limit, you just need to enforce it”.

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How true. There was a recent uproar about drivers drag racing on Beacon St in Back Bay Boston. They injured a pedestrian. The proposed solution: change the speed limit in the area from 30 to 15 MPH (not sure of the actual numbers, but close).

The dragsters were doing well over 60, so a 15 MPH speed limit would get them to stop ? I’m always amazed at the stupidity of politicians.

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Ya gotta love Double Secret Probation!

I think technology is part of the solution.
Speed cameras in problem areas, like known drag racing stretches.
I’ve posted before about cameras that simultaneously take pictures of license plates and the driver inside, with infrared flash on the driver so it’s not distracting.

I think all travelers (drivers/riders and pedestrians) are just getting more careless.
A couple weeks ago a skate boarder came down a hill and hit my bicycle, while I was standing still!
He clipped my front wheel (no damage to the bike) and tumbled onto the pavement.
He got up said “oh, sorry, my bad” and went on his merry way.
A few days later a pedestrian jaywalking with his face buried in his smart phone walked into my bike; again while I was standing still.

Texting while driving (along with the use of hand-held cellphones for calling) has been a moving violation in NJ for a few years, and despite periodic warnings of an impending crackdown, I see this activity going on CONSTANTLY. In reality the law appears to be enforced only rarely in my neck of the woods, and I don’t quite understand why that is so.

On a typical day, I will see somebody using a handheld cellphone for…some type of activity…every couple of miles.

Putting more cops and police cars out there to enforce laws unfortunately is a major strain on a city’s budget. Money that a lot of nearly insolvent cities don’t have. Lowering the speed limit on the other hand simply means changing a few signs and it looks like they did something.

Laws don’t have to be draconian, they just need to be enforced. Make laws draconian enough and the cops start to be reluctant to enforce them, like the cops just telling the banker’s kid to get rid of that pot rather than ruin a good kids entire life by sending him to prison.

Some people think that all injuries and death can be prevented if we only had more laws and stricter enforcement. Unfortunately people will continue to die and be injured regardless of what laws are passed.

Not to take the driver off the hook but I have noticed often people just cross the road without even looking for cars. They think the crosswalk or walk lights mean that everyone will just not make a mistake and stop for them. I especially noticed it around the university where the kids almost dare you to run into them. Parents need to take responsibility for their kids too and regardless of a crosswalk, watch for cars and take appropriate action. Drivers and pedestrians often are distracted.

Oh and the Washington Post is among the growing list of newspapers that only allow a few articles a month to be read without subscribing. Sorry but I wouldn’t pay 25 cents a month for that rag and the biased commentators. You have to go into incognito to read the article.

What should the state do? You can’t legislate morality, and you can’t legislate the stupidity and carelessness out of people.

As far as I know, it’s already against the law to kill someone with your car. Let the police investigate, and if the investigation shows just cause or enough evidence, let the driver stand trial for vehicular manslaughter or the pedestrian for illegal crossing.

It’s law where I live too…but the fine for texting while driving is less the the fine for not having your wipers on when it’s raining.

Charging the punk for homicide is great. However by then it’s too late for prevention. DUI laws have worked to lower deaths and accidents from DUI’s.

Personally I thing texting laws should be the same as a DUI. let’s see how that reduces texting


Sure it will, but at what price? DUI laws result in ruined careers (appropriately) - is that what is appropriate for every texting incident?

Texting and other needless distractions can be just as deadly as DUI, so it can be argued that punishment should be just as harsh.


Considering the consequences - YES.

I hadn’t noticed: they never stop me. Your browser keeps track for them: if you stop it (I read the ‘Post’ with lynx, a browser that doesn’t support scripts; the ‘noscript’ plugin for Firefox unsupports them.) then they’ll never know.

I suspect cops don’t enforce the texting law that much because people hide the phone when they see a police car. Also, is a cop going to stop a texter, taking that officer off the street for 15 or 20 minutes while they write a ticket, or keep going, knowing that just being there slows traffic, and there are other things to do? What we need is better technology to read license plates, enable a cop to photograph a driver doing something illegal, and notify the driver they have been cited by some means (mail, email, text, etc.). There just doesn’t need to be a personal conversation with every ticket.

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Some folks here think they should be handcuffed and taken to jail, like for a DUI…

I can’t speak for the folks in other areas of the country, but in my neck of the woods, there really isn’t much else for the local cops to do other than “protecting” utility workers on the side of the road, writing traffic tickets, and–of course–cruising around while holding their own cell phone to their ear while driving.

Yes, in high crime areas, texting while driving is–of necessity–a very low priority for the boys in blue, but in most non-urban areas of The US, combatting “evil-doers” is really not a major activity for the PD, and as a result the local PD should have the time to focus on things like texting violations.

Since you’re driving in a manner which has been PROVEN to greatly diminish your ability to drive safely…then less take them off the road.

Is it upsetting you because text and drive???