Letters to the Editor

Runsvold letter: Texting while driving

Your Feb. 9 article, “Drivers who text face light penalties,” barks up the wrong tree. The jails are overflowing already (even if ticketing worked, which it doesn’t) and a criminal conviction does not make whole the victim of distracted driving. Little or no criminal sanctions are no deterrent, so criminalization of texting while driving or other distracted driving is not the answer. Enhanced civil liability should be tried instead, say treble damages to be paid under mandatory auto liability insurance coverage. That way, if a texter/phone user injures you while using their device, you get awarded three times your actual damages in a lawsuit. Of course, laws and court discovery rules must also be enacted to ensure that the device’s use records can be readily recovered for use by the victim.

Bonus: We truly exceptional individuals who really can multitask while driving (eating a burger, fixing our mascara, ordering pizza) will not be affected. It remains to be seen if anyone in the Idaho Legislature has an actual desire to address this issue in a meaningful way.

Jim M. Runsvold, Caldwell