Friday, October 7, 2011

TWD - There ought to be a law

This originally appeared in the Tuscarawas County edition of the Bargain Hunter.

It’s probably happened to you.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I was southbound on I-77 heading into Tuscarawas County. I was traveling the speed limit – 60 mph -- or maybe a wee bit faster (but not fast enough to warrant the attention of state troopers) when I had to pull into the left lane to pass a slow-moving SUV, which was drifting precariously over the line that defines the lanes.

Being the defensive driver I am, I passed the SUV when it clearly was back into the right lane. Naturally, I gave the driver a look-see.

The driver, a young woman, was looking at her cell phone, a flip model which was opened to expose the keypad.

She was texting.

OK, I’m not one who believes there ought to be a law so every wrong in this world can be fixed. I think Prohibition is the No. 1 example of a law – in this case an amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- that offered numerous unintended consequences (and a nod to Ken Burns for underscoring that fact in his latest history lesson on PBS) before it was finally repealed.

But in the case of texting and driving? Well, there ought to be a law. And soon.
In June, the Ohio House passed a bill that bans texting while driving. A Senate committee is conducting hearings on the issue and I assume we’ll get the law at some point, but what the heck is taking so long?

Only lives on the highway – including the young woman’s in the SUV -- are at stake. Oh, yeah – and the lives of us who have to share the road with Miss Texter.

Funny how the Legislature took on the issue of collective bargaining and had that long-standing law rewritten and a new bill passed within three months of John Kasich taking office as governor.

Meanwhile, 34 states already have banned texting and driving.

Note to Ohio’s Legislature: Find one of those 34 laws on the Internet and then copy and paste it under Ohio’s letterhead. Vote on it. It’s so simple.

I hate to keep picking on the Legislature, but it is an easy mark. House Bill 136 would expand the previously urban-centric voucher program to students in all 613 public school districts. The voucher program, which provides money to students to attend private schools in urban areas, subtracts that same amount of money from the district to which the student belongs.

So, under the new proposal, a New Philadelphia kid who attends a private school would penalize New Philadelphia Public Schools in the amount of $5,783. That’s a lot of money to a district that size.
Needless to say, local school superintendents are against the idea.
State Rep. Al Landis, R-Dover, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

I know I’m being redundant, but the problem in public education in this state is not in the districts that are in Tuscarawas or Holmes counties. It’s in the big six urban districts – Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Youngstown.

Kasich and Landis need to remember that as they attempt to answer the school funding question. Perhaps that includes breaking them into smaller districts.

In Cleveland’s case, for example, how does one go about effectively managing a district comprised of more than 50,000 students?
Facebook can be a humbling experience.

I posted the announcement detailing a candidate debate sponsored by the Dover Exchange Club and scheduled for last Tuesday night. I asked my Facebook friends – I have a few – what questions they would like to ask, figuring I’d get at least a few responses.

I got none.

Meanwhile, the woman who posted, “I got up this morning and ate a doughnut,” gets a dozen “likes” and a half-dozen comments.

I must be doing something wrong. Or voters really are apathetic.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover).


kyle said...

I can't text while driving. I'd go careening off the side of the road. I can't imagine a law would keep people that do text from doing so...and how would it be enforced? Driving is one of the only times I am not connected to the many devices necessary for me to do my it's rather nice. I see a variety of people texting while driving that include young, old and even police officers. The need to text while operating a vehicle is a signal that some people simply need to prioritize. If one was texting, "Help, I am having a heart attack!" rather than "ey bff. shd i wear d pink or d red pumps 2 d clb? it would be justified.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Kyle, but you need to learn how to multi-task..ha ha

Anonymous said...

When it comes to incompetent driving..I'm in favor of draconian measures. Whether it's texting and driving, crazing lane changing, incompetent ramp entry or exit... and my favorite...running 60 mph in the passing lane...OS Patrol needs to ramp up their enforcement of stupid drivers. These violations are way more hazardous than driving 10 or 15 miles over the speed limit. The texting drivers are the absolute worst and those people (women} yacking on their cell phones are one exit behind the texters as far as road hazards.

And yes...the six urban school districts in Ohio have nothing to do with hundreds of other rural and suburban districts in Ohio. Those half dozen have incompetent leadership, are handcuffed by labor unions, and facing insurmountable social issues. They're dragging down the rest of the State. I don't know what those families in those districts can do...maybe move.

Facebook humbling? No. Facebook is revealing. Social media is exactly that...inconsequential balony that isn't worth bediddly. Nobody who's spending their waking hours on Facebook is going to have a concern about anything as insignificant as who the next mayor of their town might be, or law director or what about the school levy. The 30 seconds mentality is the norm, not the exception. It does not bode will for the future of the republic.