No State Left Behind: Laws Against Distracted Driving In Idaho and as a Nation
The majority of the people in the world don’t intentionally put themselves in dangerous situations, yet tragedies occur every day. Each year a motorcycle hill climbing competition is held in New Plymouth, Idaho called the Big Nasty Hill Climb. On September 19, 2009 my sister’s best friend Lacy Fine set out for a day of fun with her cousin Brittani and her cousin’s boyfriend Carlos to watch the hyped up event. She’s never been the most cautious person because her attention span is that of someone with ADHD or a stereotypical airhead. I say this with love in my heart, because she was literally a part of my family and would never purposefully hurt someone. I can assume from knowing Lacy better than almost anyone that on that Friday she was animatedly singing loudly to the radio or retelling a funny story with voices as usual. Her focus wasn’t on the task at hand of driving and she missed a stop sign coming down a hill and crashed into another truck. None of the passengers were wearing a seatbelt. The man in the truck was uninjured and Lacy was life-flighted with severe injuries, but both of her passengers were killed instantly. The two of them had just had a baby, which added to the unbearable amount of grief that Lacy and the rest of the family faced.
On August 4, 2010, nearly a year after the fact, Lacy was charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and after pleading guilty received two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and two misdemeanor counts of inattentive driving (Masters 2). Gossipers at our high school all had the incorrect first assumption that the accident was due to texting while driving, which makes a statement in itself about how common of a practice it is by teenagers. Lacy’s horrible inattentive driving record with multiple minor accidents, holds evidence to the theory that teens will continue to practice poor habits until severe enough consequences are put into order. I believe that we should keep young adults from having to learn the hard way and make efforts to not have anyone else be left scarred for life with their futures ruined. The state of Idaho has joined the movement that was already widespread in America and in doing so took legislative action against texting while driving. Idaho is now an example of using legislature to provide public safety, but further measures need to be taken on a national level by passing a ban on hand-held devices while driving. Before I began researching the prevalent issue of texting while driving, I had knowledge limited to what I’d seen on the news and learned through my involvement with Meridian’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory council. Young adults always seemed to be targeted as the main perpetrators of distracted driving; particularly texting while driving. From being a member of the respective young adult age group, I’ve seen a myriad of preventative awareness campaigns geared toward texting while driving. It wasn’t until a death of a girl named Kassy at my high school (the same year of Lacy’s accident) that the community of Meridian rallied and demanded legislative action in her name. Idaho is one of 9 states in the nation that doesn’t offer regulation on cell phone usage, but several cities within the state have taken action. In my home city of Meridian, ID an ordinance was passed that imposed a fine on violators who were caught texting while driving. This texting ban was commonly known as “Kassy’s law”, in honor of her death and her family that raised awareness. Concerned lobbyists question why several cities in Idaho have enacted ordinances and other states have created laws, but Idaho has rejected several proposed bills against texting while driving. In 2009, the first legislative attempt in Idaho to prevent texting while driving was senate bill 1030 that would have “prohibited the use of cell phones with a hands-free accessory” (Abel 2). It failed since...
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