The Associated Press reported in April that state police in Pennsylvania issued 31 citations for texting and driving in the first four weeks after the law banning the practice took effect on March 8.
Is that number too low? Too high?
Is the law too hard to enforce?
It doesn't matter because, simply put, the law isn't enough. Simply put, people die because we allow drivers to still use hand-held devices in cars.
In 2010, 13,806 crashes were caused by distracted driving in Pennsylvania, resulting in 65 deaths, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Of those, 1,093 crashes and 11 deaths were attributed to handheld phones.
So put the phone down.
If you send a text message on your phone while you drive it's impossible to claim you are looking at the road.
If you hold a phone to your ear while driving, then you're not paying enough attention to the task at hand or the other drivers on the road. That's something 10 other states have decided, enacting a flat-out ban on cell phones while driving, including every state surrounding Pa. except Ohio.
Our neighbors get the point, and the point isn't just to make people stop texting on their phones while they drive. It's to put that phone down.
The Pew Internet Project says 35 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, a number that will continue to multiply.
So why do we have to dance around the topic like this? Why do we wait?
Be it 31 citations in that first month or 331, it doesn't matter.
Let's introduce a bill that bans the use of hand-held electronic devices for all drivers.
Instead of tracking the number of citations police issue, we can track the number of lives this saves.