Texting While Driving – R U 4 Stopping It?
Somerset County is kicking it up a notch in their fight to get people to put down their cell phones while driving. If you recall back in the fall we told you about a unique program there where people who were caught texting while driving were given a choice. Either go ahead and pay the fine, or avoid the fine entirely by simply agreeing to watch a ten minute video called "The Last Text". It's an extremely emotional documentary which details the real tragedies of fatal and near fatal texting while driving incidents and how it impacted the families. You may watch the video here. It's one of the few times we could think of that law enforcement seemed sincere when they said a particular effort was about safety and not about revenue.
This week there is a county-wide effort to get students to sign a "Put It Down" pledge, stating they will not text while driving. They say they're getting about 20,000 students to take the pledge, which is great. The only disturbing thing to me is that students who take the pledge are entered into a drawing to win an Apple iPad. Obviously we want all 20,000 to stick to their pledge and actually put their phones down. But when you dangle a free iPad before a teenager and say all you have to do is sign this pledge, which one has no way of enforcing, you have to wonder how many are sincere and doing it for the right reasons and how many are complying.
Still, we applaud Somerset County's efforts. Now if the cops themselves could just put their own cell phones down - oh wait, they're exempt from the very law they're enforcing.