The topic of this article is texting and driving. According to the authors of the article, the South Dakota Legislature needs to acknowledge the perils of texting and driving and place a ban on the practice. The article then outlines the reasons behind this argument.
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My argument is that a ban on texting and driving is not enough to overturn the current developments. The state should instead direct its efforts towards educating the public about the dangers of texting and driving. This awareness campaign should mostly focus on teenagers and other youthful drivers.
The purpose of my letter is to highlight the other aspects of texting and driving campaigns that could have a more significant effect than imposing a ban on texting. For instance, the State of South Dakota is not necessarily neglectful through its inaction.
The letter is addressed to all South Dakota residents as well as all stakeholders of safe driving. However, my letter makes specific reference to teenagers and youthful drivers because these groups are closer to the issue of texting and driving.
I have a friend who was involved in a car accident while he was driving and texting. He hid this information from investigators but revealed it to me in confidence. Given the scope of the accident, he was lucky to have survived. He also revealed to me that he was not explicitly aware of the dangers of texting and driving. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive awareness campaign like the one for drinking and driving.
The blame on the South Dakota legislature is unwarranted because there are other stakeholders of drunk driving, including the traffic department, activist groups, and other road users. Therefore, the call for a ban on texting and driving should be a concerted effort from all involved stakeholders. The national wide ban on texting and driving represents the part the government has to play. The rest of the efforts should be from other stakeholders.
Letter to the Editor on Ban on Texting and Driving in South Dakota
I am writing this letter in response to the Sioux City Journal’s article titled “Our Opinion: It’s time for a tough ban on texting while driving in S.D..” The article was authored by the journal’s joint editorial board. The article is a timely response to the rising instances of road accidents involving texting and driving. However, I feel that the sole blame on the South Dakota legislature is misplaced. From my perspective, a legal ban on texting and driving will not have a significant impact on the vice, and concerted efforts from various stakeholders could yield better results.
Lack of harsh legislation on texting and driving does not necessarily translate to high instances of this practice. It is important to note that the National Safety Council’s statistics do not only reflect on the situation in South Dakota but the whole country (Journal Editorial Board, 2014). Therefore, the authors of this article cannot link the alleged inaction of the legislature to the rising cases of texting and driving.
In some instances, it has been noted that states with the harshest texting and driving laws record the most instances of this vice (Harrison, 2013). Therefore, the authors of this article ought to have addressed the issue from a broader perspective. For instance, are instances of texting and driving higher in South Dakota compared to other states? According to current statistics, South Dakota is not even among the top 25 states when it comes to accidents related to texting and driving.
The focus should be on how to manage and create awareness about texting and driving instead of implementing bans. The spirit of democracy and good governance dictates that governments conduct enough awareness campaigns before coming up with primary laws. I have come across individuals who wonder why texting and driving should be a crime. Their reasoning is enabled by the fact that there is very little public awareness concerning texting and driving.
Most people, especially those under twenty-one years of age view, bans on texting and driving as criticism against their driving techniques (Harrison, 2013). Therefore, there is a need to conduct comprehensive public campaigns about the dangers of texting and driving. The authors of this article should consider pushing for public awareness campaigns before calling for a comprehensive ban on texting and driving. Furthermore, the article does not refer to any research on texting and driving in South Dakota, and this suggests that there is none yet.
Finally, there is no sufficient input from other safe driving stakeholders to highlight the seriousness of this issue. Bans on texting and driving in most of the other states have been preceded by activism and joint efforts against the practice. This has not been the case in South Dakota. The state is only following through with the trends in other states. For instance, in the past South Dakota has engaged in a massive campaign against drunk driving but not against texting and driving.
It is not enough or appropriate to implement a ban on texting and driving without considering other relevant factors. The authors of this article need to recognize the state’s specific needs and trends. The effectiveness of a ban also depends on the level of public awareness in the issue. There is no need to effect legislation just because other states have done so.
Harrison, M. A. (2013). College students’ prevalence and perceptions of text messaging while driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43(4), 1516-1520.
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Journal Editorial Board. (2014). Our Opinion: It’s time for tough ban on texting while driving in S.D. Sioux City Journal, 3(2), 1-2. Web.