Skubick: Enforce the 'Don't text and drive laws' or else - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Skubick: Enforce the 'Don't text and drive laws' or else

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Lansing WJBK -

What parent hasn't said this to their teen-age child ready for a night on the town.  "Junior, whatever you do, don't drink and drive."

Come to find out, that's so much yesterday as the new admonition should be, "Junior, don't text and drive."

As incredible as it seems, death by text in a car has now surpassed death by drinking despite laws to curb the dangerous behavior.

Asking a teen to disengage from their text messaging device is like asking them to disengage from life but as the statistics gravely reveal, that's exactly what happens 11 times every day in this country.

There are 11 deaths on the road every day from kids who have a hand on the wheel and a hand on the key board or even worse, two hands on the key board and knees on the wheel.

In addition to the carnage texting causes, add another 330,000 injuries each year and 1.6 million accidents according to the National Safety Council.

Yet despite the good intentions of state lawmakers and law enforcement to curb this lethal behavior, there's more they could do.  First only 2,300 tickets were written during the first 30 months of the new law, 551 of those in Wayne County.  There's been no crack down on the violations.

Next under current state law, it is a primary offense to text and drive which means the cops can pull you over if they nab you doing it.  But if you get caught, the fine is $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second, but here's the kicker, there are no points on your driving record.

If you want to talk about human behavior modifiers, points are the way to go.

Explain to the teen that if they rack-up enough points two things happen. They lose their license and mom and pop will be paying hefty insurance rates once the license is restored.

Yet lawmakers refused to go there.  Just like they did on the mandatory seat-belt law, they refused to slap the points on the driver's record which, at the very least, sends a mixed signal to the offenders.

It's like saying, "We don't want you to text and drive, but we are not going to impose the toughest penalties to make you stop."

And teens being teens, they know they are indestructible, so they pay the fine and go on texting, until, for 11 of them each day, it is too late.

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