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A radical idea

"It can wait," says one public service announcement campaign of those notifications of pending texts on your phone while you are behind the wheel. Despite the campaigns, evidence aplenty indicates that people are more distracted than ever by electronics while they drive. However, a new weapon is being unveiled here in New York to combat distracted driving.

“Radical change requires radical ideas,” the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said recently. One such radical idea is called the Textalyzer. The device can be used roadside by police officers arriving at the scene of motor vehicle accidents to determine if driver phones were engaged in recent activity.

The proposal would require drivers to hand over their phones to officers -- failure to do so would result in an immediate suspension of the person's driver's license, much the same way a license is suspended when a driver refuses a roadside sobriety test.

The sponsor of the bill says the goal is to make people afraid to touch their cellphones while driving, and thereby change behavior for the better.

The founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is on board. She has founded a new group (Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving) devoted to elevating distracted driving awareness to the level of awareness of the dangers of drunken driving.

Distracted driving is "dangerous, devastating, crippling, and it’s a killer, and still socially acceptable," she told the New York Times.

Hopefully, the efforts will result in a diminishment of distracted driving that will make us all safer.

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