Distracted driving has become the biggest public safety issue of our time. Many drivers – and yes, I’m talking about you – don’t realize just how dangerous it is to use their phones while operating a deadly motor vehicle. You might tell yourself that you’re a safe driver and your brain can handle both tasks, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong. Or maybe just soon-to-be-dead wrong. Distracted driving has become the leading cause of auto death in many states, and legislators around the country are passing laws to punish drivers who just can’t put their stupid phones down and concentrate on their own mortal peril. Well, legislators are trying to pass these laws, anyway. In Wyoming, a new law which would strengthen the penalty for texting while driving has been voted down. Is this sending the wrong signal to texting drivers?
Lawmakers in the Wyoming House voted ‘no’ on a new bill which would have allowed courts to sentence texting drivers to up to 20 years in prison if their phone use caused a deadly accident. The bill was hotly debated and supported by driving safety groups but failed to receive a majority of votes. Two thirds of Wyoming state representatives voted against the bill. That means texting while driving in Wyoming still carries just a misdemeanor sentence of a $75 and presumably a mild slap on the wrist while the judge drawls “now don’t you go doin’ that again, ya hear?” from beneath his ten-gallon Stetson hat before lighting up a Marlboro and putting his snakeskin boots up on the judge’s bench. That’s what Wyoming is like, right?
That’s what it seems like with the failure of this bill, anyway. Why would lawmakers avoid stiffer punishments for drivers who recklessly endanger the lives of those around them? Remember when smartphones first became widespread and all kinds of predictions were made about how they would be the downfall of society and civilization as we know it? Well it’s this kind of stuff that the naysayers were talking about. Stay frosty out there on the road – you never know which driver might kill you while they send out that really important retweet.