WTVM Editorial 5/8/18: Distracted drivers beware

(WTVM) - A lot of Georgia drivers have a new skill they'll need to learn behind the wheel: not grabbing for their cellphone or holding it while driving.

Governor Deal has just signed the Distracted Driver Law, which forbids drivers from having their cell phones in hand, even when stopped at a red light.

I admit to looking at my phone while stopped in traffic, but I'll need to change my ways, along with a lot of other people, because police are on the lookout for anyone manipulating their phone while in the driver's seat.

The law states a driver can't write, send, or read any texts or watch videos in the car. Hands-free devices are allowed and you can use your phone's GPS functions as long as it remains on the seat or dashboard.

The most important thing about this law is holding drivers accountable because using your phone while on the road is inherently dangerous.

In three seconds, while you read a text message, you could slam into the car in front of you. Distracted driving causes nine traffic deaths every day and 1,000 driver injuries.

It's obviously not worth it - even if it weren't against the law. We all know patience behind the wheel is a great defensive driving technique. We can wait until the oncoming car passes before we pull out into traffic.

Now we all need to apply that patience when it comes to our cell phones. Just wait. The email can wait. The message from a friend can wait. You don't have to instantly respond to anyone. It's just not that important. It can wait.

Using common sense and not picking up your phone while driving could save your life or save you from decades of grief if you cause someone else to die, just because you're too impatient to ignore your cell phone until you're stopped and safely parked.

No message, no call is ever worth paying that heavy price.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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