If you’re texting and driving in Long Island, your phone might be disabled

romex app distracted driving texting while
Image: Flickr

Unfortunately, in our day and age, using your phone while driving at the same time, a seemingly commonplace task, is something that puts other lives at risk. Just ask 20-year-old Abby Sletten, who was charged with negligent homicide after rear-ending an SUV, killing 89-year-old Phyllis Gordon in the process. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice in Long Island wants to prevent something like this from happening again.

Rice hopes to attain that goal with her five-point plan, which is composed of the following:

  1. Rice wrote to Google, Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry, asking them to incorporate technologies behind third-party apps in order to block texting while driving, essentially creating a kill switch.
  2. Rice also wrote to “three of the nation’s largest insurance industry associations,” asking them to incorporate discounts to those who use devices or apps that block texting while driving.
  3. Rice will recommend to sentencing courts that they should have a plea program aimed at young drivers. This program would include installing technologies, like car cellphone jammers, into offenders’ cars.
  4. Rice requested that the Nassau County Police Department not turn its back on summons for texting and driving, even when the offender was arrested for a higher level charge.
  5. Finally, Rice’s office will create a website that aims to educate available technologies that can be used to combat distracted driving.

With her five-point plan sounding somewhat ambitious, Rice recognizes that such changes won’t happen overnight. “Tackling this problem will require a concerted effort by numerous sectors of commerce and government,” said Rice. Currently, 44 states ban texting while driving, with at least 12 states banning the use of cellphones while driving.