Elon students voice opinions on new texting bans

Elon University students with a variety of personal texting habits have mixed reactions to the notion of federally imposed laws against texting while driving.

In July, North Carolina’s Kay Hagan was one of four senators to push for national legislation requiring all states to pass laws that would ban their drivers from texting, according to CNN.

Currently North Carolina forbids only teens from this practice. However, starting in December, texting while driving will be a fineable offense for all North Carolina drivers, according to http://www.drivinglaws.org/.

Sarah Davenport, a freshman, got her license this July and said she only texts at stoplights.

“I can’t doing it while I’m driving. I don’t have that much skill,” Davenport said. “All states should have [laws against texting]. Might as well do it through the Senate.”

Freshman Tessa Kiefer’s home state of Connecticut is one of the 14 states along with the District of Columbia that already prohibit texting behind the wheel.

“I think they should come to a consensus nationwide,” said Kiefer, who never texts while driving. “It’s scary [because people who are texting] aren’t paying attention. They could hit something.”

Such multitasking does not frighten sophomore Shea Thomas.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Thomas said about seeing other drivers on the road texting. “They take their own life in their own hands. The government shouldn’t regulate what you do with your own property.”

Despite knowing how unsafe it is, junior Molly Cimikoski admitted she sometimes texts while driving.

“I am really opposed to it,” Cimikoski said. “I stopped now that I have a Blackberry and really need two hands to text.”

In her opinion, most people text from behind the wheel because it is convenient.

“We are used to having constant contact with other people and so it’s hard to take even the time when you are driving to not be responding,” Cimikoski said.

While Cimikoski agreed texting while driving should be illegal, she disagreed with nationwide requirements.

“I think it should be banned, but it’s better to handle it within each state,” Cimikoski said. “I personally have some anxiety about federal bans.”

As part of the proposed legislation, there will be a two-year window for states to pass appropriate anti-texting laws, according to CNN. Any state failing to meet this deadline would be penalized with a 25 percent decrease in federal highway funding.

Thomas did not agree with this type of consequence.

“It’s just a way to force local governments into abiding by the bigger government’s rules,” Thomas said.

“I think that’s kind of an extreme repercussion,” Kiefer said. “There should be a law for it but I think that’s too extreme.”

Cimikoski said she is not OK with using funding as a bribe and compared Hagan’s proposal to similar practices used in 1984 to motivate states to make 21 the minimum drinking age.

“I honestly think that’s blackmailing. I don’t think it’s fair to put that level of pressure on states,” Cimikoski said.

While Davenport saw the Senate as a convenient way to reach national congruity, she did not see where the laws would end.

“It’ll probably work because [the funding] is really important. It may not be the best bribe, but I think it will help states enforce the no texting while driving rule,” Davenport said. “There’s an issue on where do you draw the line with using an iPod or changing the radio because that can be just as fatal of a distraction as texting can be.”

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