New Castle News

Letters to the Editor

May 10, 2014

Tougher laws needed for texting drivers

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

In March 2012, texting while driving became illegal in Pennsylvania.

Statistics show texting while driving makes a person 23 times more likely to crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 3,300 people were killed and more than 421,000 injured in distracted-driving collisions last year in the United States.

This is unacceptable. For those who have yet to experience this type of tragedy, let us say the outcome of distracted-driving accidents is devastating — especially when they can be prevented.

Our laws need to be changed. The penalty for texting while driving is a $50 fine; that’s laughable and not a deterrent. How does this small fine discourage anyone from texting while driving?

If you’re texting while driving, and the result is an accident causing serious injury or death, automatic jail time should be mandatory. If someone is convicted of texting while driving, the driver also should be required to perform community service, whether involved in an accident or not. Lives can be changed forever in the blink of an eye.

If any accident, involving texting or not, results in serious injury or death, both of the involved parties should be tested for drugs and alcohol. Our dad had to have drug and alcohol testing as part of his autopsy, but the woman who killed him was never tested because police claimed there was no probable cause. How does that even make sense?

Our family has gone through an unspeakable tragedy. No one else should have to go through something like this, especially when this could have been prevented. We implore people to contact their local representatives to push for these laws to be changed. Only when we make the public more aware and push for changes will our lawmakers do anything to change them.

Mary Lou Gallatin

Rose Point-Harlansburg Road

New Castle

Brian and Kara Gallatin

Virginia Beach, Va.

Michelle Gallatin-Baughman

Jamie Baughman

State Route 956


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