In 2010, Mount Pleasant was named an All-America City in recognition of its sense of community.
Town Council’s vote Tuesday to ban texting while driving suggests that three years later, the community still is valued.
Drivers who take their eyes off the road and their hands off the steering wheel in order to send a text message on their cell phones put themselves and all those around them in danger. It’s just common sense, but research bears that out.
Still, drivers continue to take that risk. So while they will receive some criticism for it, six members of Town Council acted on behalf of the community’s well-being and voted to ban texting while driving. It was the right thing to do.
The three members who opposed gave their reasons: It’s too difficult to enforce; it’s up to parents to curb the problem by teaching their children not to text while driving; and it should be the state, not individual municipalities, considering a texting ban.
Many remember when seat belt laws were being considered. Opponents said they would be impossible to enforce, but those laws have saved countless lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives just from 2004 to 2008.
It would be wonderful if parents could resolve the problem of texting while driving — like driving too fast and driving while drunk — without the need for laws.
But they can’t, and the costs of looking the other way are considerable. Statewide, distracted driving has played a role in 23 fatal collisions so far this year.
Indeed, Mount Pleasant Town Council might eventually consider revisiting the more restrictive ban it voted down — not just on texting but on all hand-held devices while driving.
And while it’s true that a statewide ban on texting would be much more effective and less confusing for drivers, the Legislature has failed to enact one. Several times.
Mount Pleasant Town Council voted wisely. Other municipalities, including Charleston and North Charleston, would do well to follow its example.
If Mount Pleasant makes the ban official in September when it takes a final vote, the people who live, work or play in Mount Pleasant — or those who merely drive through the town on their way from Sullivan’s Island to peninsula Charleston — owe Town Council their thanks.
It’s one more feature of a congenial and concerned community.
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