The Drive: Web-surfing drivers may as well sleep at the wheel

  • Article by: Tim Harlow , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2013 - 5:33 PM

Quickly reading a text message or going online while driving may seem innocuous. But you might as well doze off.

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JayschNov. 17, 13 6:43 PM

Does reading the StarTribune while driving count?

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roontoonNov. 17, 13 6:45 PM

As someone who works in auto claims, I see first hand on a daily basis the destruction to life and property caused by distracted driving. Those who engage in smartphone use while driving usually excuse it by saying it was just this once, or traffic was light enough that there was less risk. There is no excuse good enough to justify the thousands of dollars in expense and preventable suffering incurred as a result of this behavior. It's as dangerous as DUI, and the penalties should be as severe to get the point across.

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actualreaderNov. 17, 13 6:54 PM

My husband works with a guy who thinks it's beyond criminal that "the government" would try to keep him from texting while he's driving, and went ape when the company also made a policy against it. He bought a house in the exurbs during the boom, and he just "has to" work all the way in and all the way back out on that long commute. He has the technology and it's his right. Good luck to all you folks on 35W north of Arden Hills on weekdays.

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ethan0822Nov. 17, 13 7:37 PM

I would argue that texting while driving is far worse than the .08 legal alcohol limit. A person at .08 is likely focusing on the road... Note - neither are acceptable, I'm just stating my opinion on what I believe is worse relative to the penalty for those caught doing either.

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vor2vorNov. 17, 13 8:06 PM

MN should take the lead and increase all fines 4X what they currently are for first offenses. After the 1st offense the fine should increase by $150.00 for each and every subsequent offense, ALONG with (and again, each time), having to speak to 5th-12th graders on the dangers of distracted driving. THIS is the ONLY thing that will wake people up (no pun intended). Disagree? You'll probably reconsider when you or a loved one are hit (head-on, t-boned), by a distracted driver. If MN does this, we'll have the SAFEST roads in the nation.

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ejsledgeNov. 17, 1310:13 PM

I am trying to get my city of Austin Texas to deal more effectively with distracted driving. Using a cell phone hands-free or no is a serious distraction while driving. This story discusses internet use which is extremely dangerous, as is texting. We must start "getting it" and disallow ANY use of cell phones or other digital devices when we are driving. Hopefully some day we will deal with distracted driving as we do drunk driving. Good going for your reporting on this problem! Edward Sledge Austin, Texas

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bigtmnNov. 17, 1310:18 PM

Come on legislature, isn't it about time to outlaw the use of all mobile devices while driving? That means talking on cell phones, texting, surfing the internet, etc. I can't imagine that there is any good reason to allow this to continue. Not only for the safety of driver and other motorists but for the lack of courtesy that results from inattentiveness.

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hammarhead1Nov. 17, 1310:27 PM

I drive metro highways every day and this problem gets worse every year. Time to shut down all cell phones in cars or punish offenders severely.

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fishbachNov. 17, 1311:33 PM

After a tremendous amount of education, awareness, and enforcement, the problem of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol has reduced thereby making our roads and streets much safer. Further, my safety is assured by the fact that I am home and in bed when drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road. Testers and cellphone users, however, are a problem at all hours of the day and night, and especially during peak traffic times. Distracted driving is public safety problem number one. It has become such a problem because our legislators have failed to act the way other states and nations have. People have died, been seriously injured, and countless lives altered because of distracted drivers. How many more lives shall be cut short or altered because of selfish, and self-centered motorists? I was once told by a state legislator that banning cigarette machines would never pass as a state-wide law, nor would the right to smoke-free air in the workplace and public places. What small thinking this was. Our stae legislators have got to listen to the segment of the population who demand that distracted driving be addressed as today's number one public safety issue.

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bizsmithNov. 18, 13 6:28 AM

My wife gets furious with me because I won't even answer the phone while driving.

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