Every once in a while something happens that defies explanation. The decision by the Mississippi House at the end of the legislative session to let die a bill it already had passed to ban texting while driving is one of them.
One day after going on record 104-16 to ban texting while driving, the House on a voice vote declined to move the bill to the governor’s desk for signature. It makes no sense.
Aside from the issue about the danger of texting, we hate voice votes. They allow legislators to do bad things without having to make a record of how they voted.
The legislator who led the uprising against the bill, Rep. Bill Denny, a Republican from Jackson, said he didn’t realize the bill applied to everybody when he voted for it. He thought it was limited to teenagers.
We don’t think it makes sense for drivers of any age to be texting while driving. We cringe anytime we see someone doing it, and the accident statistics show there’s reason to cringe. Mississippi is one of only seven states that have not banned it.
Distracted driving is a big issue these days. Texting is just the worst example. Today’s complicated touch-screen systems in cars make it difficult to tune the radio or adjust the heater without taking your eyes off the road. Even navigation systems, while handy to help us find the way, can be very distracting.
Texting while driving is dangerous and unnecessary. It should be banned before it leads to more loss of life.