An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — State police officers in six states, including Ohio and West Virginia, will be cracking down on distracted driving this week. As people become more and more attached to their electronic devices, drivers are ignoring the common sense that tells them to put down those devices when they get behind the wheel.
So, “the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a cellular phone or other electronic device” is becoming more prevalent, and more dangerous. In 2014, the latest year for which there are confirmed figures, more than 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. And that was before a certain augmented reality game had folks driving from place to place with one eye and one hand on their smartphones.
Drunk or impaired driving is still the bigger killer. In 2014, there were more than 9,900 people killed in impaired-driving accidents. But preventing even one death, whether it be from texting or drinking, is reason enough for law enforcement to remind drivers of the laws – and that they are being enforced.
Ohio State Highway Patrol superintendent Col. Paul Pride said the message is simple: People should remain fully focused on driving when they are behind the wheel.
No text, or “captured” imaginary creature, is worth a life – not yours, and not your passengers’. Put the phones down – it is good to unplug for a moment or two, anyway. But, should drivers need further motivation, state police officers throughout the region this week will happy to provide it.