Local law enforcement officials are seeing more and more of a dangerous trend on our roads -- drivers who are texting while driving.
The activity isn't illegal, but it is putting the driver, his or her passengers and other motorists at serious risk. The trend is most prevalent among young drivers, those that should be paying more attention to developing their driving skills in the first place.
A poll of 16- and 17-year old drivers conducted by AAA in July 2007 found that nearly half -- 46 percent -- of the respondents sent text messages while behind the wheel. With the explosion in popularity of cell phones with text capabilities, this new form of dis-tracted driving -- Driving While Texting -- is only expected to get worse in the future.
Driving while talking on a cell phone has received the most legislative attention thus far, with several states -- including California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- making it illegal to use handheld phones while driving. In addition, 38 states are considering 133 bills that would regulate their use behind the wheel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
However, when it comes to outlawing DWT, legislators are behind the technology curve.
It's time our own legislators take a look at helping local enforcement officials by making it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while reading, writing or sending electronic messages.
Making DWT a ticketable offense won't prevent this dangerous driving practice from happening, but it will help save lives.