Posted: March 26, 2003
CAN'T GET NO DISTRACTION
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
Cell phones are not the only way drivers get
distracted on Delaware's roads.
Members of the state House of Representatives
are twittering like teen-agers over some statistics in a report,
compiled by the state police, about driver distractions that led to
accidents from October to mid-March.
Hand-held cell phones accounted for four
crashes. Sexual activity caused three.
The report wasn't specific about the type of
sexual activity, but it would appear that cell phones were not
involved, or presumably there would have been some sort of
The information was collected because of a
bill introduced last year by Rep. Joseph E. Miro, a Pike Creek
Valley Republican, to ban hand-held cell phones while driving. It
aroused legislators, who wondered how much of a danger cell phones
really were on the road, so they voted to study driver distractions
before considering a new law.
The state police report found a variety of
reasons for the accidents, like children and pets, tuning the radio
Still, lawmakers were not about to be
distracted by those distractions, as shown by a conversation
overheard Tuesday in the back of the House chamber. It involved
Republican Reps. Deborah D. Hudson, Donna D. Stone and Robert J.
Valihura Jr., although the nature of it left Valihura speechless.
Hudson: "It's interesting the data on cell
phones and sexual activity went hand in hand."
Stone: "I don't think it goes hand in hand."
Hudson: "I'm wondering if Rep. Miro wants to
ban other distractions."
Stone: "It's not a bill about cell phones you
need at all."
Miro is getting the message. The state police
report was not just a quickie study. It required 50 troopers to
collect data for almost six months on 1,300 accidents, showing that
only 14 of them involved driver distraction of any kind. He says he
is thinking about scaling back his proposal from a ban on driving
with hand-held cell phones to fines for drivers involved in
accidents because of cell phones.
And no, in case anyone was wondering, Miro
says he won't be introducing any legislation regarding drivers'
Another legislator suggested why. "It might be
one of us," the lawmaker said.
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