Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: driving while texting

June
10th

Thumbs up for anti-distracted driving patrols

Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)
Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The figures are in from last month’s distracted driver emphasis patrols, and the verdict is: Plenty of us are, indeed, driving distracted.

During the week of May 20, patrols in many communities statewide focused on pulling over drivers who were illegally using handheld cellphones or texting. They nabbed 1,448, compared with 1,059 in 2012 — a 36 percent increase. If drivers are at all intimidated by the prospect of a $124 ticket, it’s not showing.

Here’s a hero of the emphasis patrols: the Gig Harbor police officer who single-handedly ticketed 101 of the 139 drivers the department caught using their cellphones.

Another shout-out to the Puyallup Police Department, which employed a tag-team approach on busy Meridian Avenue. One officer on the street served as a spotter, alerting another to make the stop and issue the ticket. In the first two days of the department’s three-day emphasis patrol, 79 tickets were issued for texting or talking on handheld phones. Read more »

June
1st

Please tell me this isn’t a real thing

A hands-free Whopper holder? Really?

I’m hoping this is some kind of media prank. If not, I’m appalled.

According to gadget guide Gizmodo, Burger King celebrated its 50th anniversary in Puerto Rico by giving 50 of its loyal customers a device they wear around their neck that allows them to eat their Whopper without using hands. I guess something like that would come in handy while driving – you could drive, text and eat a Whopper all at the same time!

Read about it here. And if someone knows whether this is a hoax or not, please let

Read more »

March
31st

Driver’s hands belong on the wheel, not texting

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

When it comes to distracted driving, texting-obsessed teens are the problem, right?

That’s only partially correct. It turns out, they’re just modeling their elders’ behavior. Almost half of adults say they text and drive, even though they’re well aware that it’s considered dangerous. A slightly lower percentage of teens, 43 percent, admit to driving while texting.

But that actually may be a bigger problem because teens aren’t as experienced behind the wheel as older drivers; the under-20 age group has the highest proportion of distracted-driving fatal crashes, says the Centers for Disease Control. And while a slightly lower percentage of teens than adults might text, those who do tend to text a lot. Teens are more likely than adults to expect immediate responses – and to immediately respond to text messages they receive, even if they’re driving.

How dangerous is texting while driving? Read more »

June
11th

New grads: Please just stay alive on the roads this summer

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

To the South Sound Class of 2012:

Your commencement speakers are offering you sage and farsighted advice about your potential, about the adversities and triumphs of a life well lived. Our message is strictly shortsighted: Please, stay alive and uninjured for the next few weeks.

The month of June frequently brings a familiar and tragic genre of headline. Such as:

Teen dies in crash night of graduation

Student fatally injured on highway after party

New grad killed in midnight rollover

Here’s the worst such headline so far this month: Death toll rises to 4 in Ohio pre-graduation crash Read more »

April
20th

Bluetooth or the Borg?

For Washingtonians, Bluetooth’s moment arrives on June 10. That’s when it will become a primary offense to drive while operating, or texting on, a cell phone.

If California is any indicator, we will soon be embracing hands-free here. Cheryl Tucker points out that California’s already enacted law has further enabled a culture wherein wireless gadgets dangle from the average Californian’s lobes like a healthy crop of ear hair.

Hopefully the results of these new rules mean an increase in safety, though this is fact or fiction depending on which study you choose to believe.

But no study of which

Read more »