ROSE NOLEN: Texting while driving — dangerous for everyone

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

No one in my family sends me text messages. Actually, my cell phone is out of batteries most of the time. As old-fashioned as we are, we still use regular telephones.

Last week I was traveling, and I noticed signs on the highway warning people not to text while they were driving. With the number of accidents on the roads these days, it blows my mind that people would still be taking such chances when they are driving.

Most of my friends keep insisting that young people should be warned about such practices. But I really don’t think young people are responsible for such behavior. Most are older adults who should know better.

I can’t believe people have so much to say that they must be talking to someone around the clock. Before mobile phones, when individuals had no way to get in touch with others, they waited until they were home or near a telephone to get in touch.

When you stop to realize, it wasn’t that long ago. Have we gained so much information in such a short period of time that we have to tell somebody something every minute of the day?

Almost every state has a law where it is illegal to text while driving. In 41 states and the District of Columbia, it applies to all drivers. In Missouri, it applies to drivers 21 and younger.

Personally, I don’t think anyone should be able to text while driving. Let’s face it, there are people who are not able to judge when it is safe to use a cellphone on the road.

It seems to me that there should also be times when both hands should be on the steering wheel. And certainly one should not need a policeman at one’s side to determine when those times are.

The more freedom we have in the United States, the less we seem to know how to use it. Do we need a lesson?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Ellis Smith May 20, 2014 | 8:37 a.m.

It seems inconceivable that a responsible person could argue with not texting, or even carrying on lengthy voice conversations, on a cell phone while driving (at any speed), but people continue to do so, and it's patently obvious they aren't just teenagers - not by a long shot!

First, nothing is so important that it can't wait until a driver has brought a vehicle out of any driving lanes, stopped it in a safe stopping place, and THEN determined who called (if it's an incoming phone call). That information is shown on the phone's screen. On even the less expensive cell phones these days you not only see who called, and can read their text if they left one, but you can push one button to return a voice answer, or text a message (either an answer to someone's text message to you or to send an original text message).

What's the big rush, that we must divide our driving attention between driving and holding phone conversations or sending and receiving texts? How did we manage to do business, or even survive at all, before we had such electronic capabilities?

But...but...we are Americans and we shouldn't have limits put on our freedoms. FREEDOM IS NOT LICENSE! True freedom HAS to be self-limiting, by us as responsible individuals. Practically, there is no way a ban on improper use of these devices can be 100% enforced. There must be voluntary enforecment.

PS: I like to compare such situations to having a valuable violin. If you give that violin to a competent violinist, you might hear some lovely music; but if you give that same violin to a chimpanzee you may end up with a broken violin! EITHER WAY IT'S NOT THE VIOLIN THAT'S THE PROBLEM, and I doubt that Missouri DMV is issuing driver's licenses to chimpanzees.

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