The carnage must stop! A call for cell phone legislation


High school students are sick of the deaths and demand government action. They are bravely walking out of school and demanding our politicians act NOW or they will vote them out of office when they turn 19. This message is inspirational and I am in solidarity.

Teenagers have a lot to answer for. Even without a single gun, they are busy killing our children and our adults at an alarming rate, and although we have laws, more are needed.

New teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. According to the AAA, teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.

Consider that: More than 2,500 deaths annually by young people who drive carelessly. Furthermore, these statistics are likely to only get worse. Research indicates that “distraction” is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate to severe teen crashes. Twelve percent of distractions that cause these deaths are due to cell phone usage.

To put this into perspective, it would take 168 Parkland-like mass shootings YEARLY for gun violence to come close to the carnage visited upon our roads by teenage students.

I understand many students are lamenting their inability to feel safe in their schools. I sympathize. But to put this issue into perspective, I suggest their teachers spend a little less time whipping them up into a frenzy of fear and have them consider this: If they wish to feel safe, they should find a way to spend as much time in school as possible. Stay off the streets.

Since 1990 (17 plus years, which is roughly the entire lifetime of the student population), there have been 22 shootings at elementary and secondary schools in which two or more people were killed. By contrast,100 school age children are accidentally killed each year simply riding their bikes or waking to school. And on top of that we have the hundreds of yearly deaths caused by students killing themselves and other drivers due to driving while distracted to school.

Perhaps the answer to this ongoing road carnage is home schooling. But school shooting and auto death statistics pale when compared to deaths among children 19 and under that take place at home. As many as 20,000 deaths, and seven million disabling injuries take place on the home front.

There are dangers all around us, but certainly some common sense legislation could dramatically cut down on the death rates. There isn’t a whole lot we can do about the dangers faced at home, which include fires, poisonings (misuse of the medicine cabinet contents), falling furniture and TVs, suffocations, etc. We may have all the laws we can reasonably pass to deal with these dangers. But I suggest we find ways to learn whether these student protesters are truly serious about putting an end to the carnage they themselves are causing. Toward that end, I look forward to the following legislation, which will save thousands of lives daily.

As we saw, texting accounts for 12 percent of the moderate to severe traffic accidents, that account for the roughly 2,800 yearly deaths caused by teenage drivers.  Thus, the following law will save 343 deaths (20 Parkland shootings) yearly:

From age 16-21, a person can either own a license to drive, or a cell phone, but not both.

I am certain that when the young people of America lead the rest of us by example, giving up their right to the deadly mix of both car and phone, the adults of our nation will be moved to curtail some of their second amendment rights as well.

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