Big news from State Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood): Legislation she originated in SB 758, which addresses the terrible dangers of texting while driving, has passed through the chambers and now awaits the governor's signature in Tallahassee.
It's a no-frills kind of bill, running a good deal less than 400 words, which mandates that drivers' ed courses -- those for new drivers as well as drivers in need of a refresher -- teach students why and how not to use handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. Sobel announced her victory with this triumphal sound bite:
We have done a great job teaching drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Texting while driving and talking on a cell phone are just as dangerous, and it is time we make that perfectly clear to Florida's drivers.
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Which sounds awesome! Except that when you're driving, your beer doesn't start chirping and demanding to be drunk lest you miss an urgent message from your spouse, kid, or employer. If it did, you wouldn't care what the law said -- you'd answer the damned beer. Legislation isn't gonna defeat the danger of behind-the-wheel texting. Only better airbags can do that.