The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Cell phone-free lane lessens frustrations

By David Boyd/reporter

In recent years, state and local governments have attempted to win support for toll roads in an effort to relieve traffic congestion.

Experiments such as the left lane truck ban in Fort Worth and carpool lanes in Dallas have attempted to alleviate the overcrowded metroplex roads but city planners and transportation officials cannot keep up with population growth.

Since they cannot easily increase the number of roads and lanes, maybe they should concentrate on making the ones we have more efficient and safe.

Insurance companies have recently targeted cell phones and distracting behavior in their commercials for good reason. Distractions such as eating, dressing, texting and talking on cell phones compromise a driver’s ability to focus on safe driving habits.

Wireless phone usage has effects on response and braking time similar to drunken driving, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Fifteen states and 40 countries currently restrict use of cell phones while driving. Texas lawmakers previously tried to ban talking on cell phones without using a hands free-device, but the initiative failed.

Perhaps it was for the best that the measure in that form failed. Several studies have shown hands-free devices do not significantly reduce the safety risks associated with distracted drivers, so maybe a different sort of law would be more effective.

The left lane highway truck ban has made travel between Fort Worth and Dallas faster, but a cell phone ban could make it more reliable and even less congested.

The left lane is commonly thought of as the fast lane, but my trips along the left lane of Highway 121 or Interstate 20 are frequently slowed by a weaving driver moving several miles below the speed limit.

Invariably, upon passing the slow-moving vehicle, I gather a brief glimpse of a distracted driver with the steering wheel in one hand and a cell phone in the other.

Texas likes experimenting with the left lane, so in the same vein as the High Occupancy Vehicle lane and the left lane truck ban, we should try out a left lane cell phone ban.

Get those slowpokes out of the way of focused, attentive drivers. If the statistics later prove fewer accidents occur in cell-phone-free left lanes, then consider phasing in an expanded ban on the wireless usage.

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