College View: Thoughts on Texting Law, Smoking Ban

By Lacey Palmer on June 18, 2012 from College View via Connect-Bridgeport.com

In light of the passing of new laws and regulations greatly affecting the younger generation, I decided to write my first blog of my many random thoughts on these specific changes. As a 19-year-old West Virginia University student, the new texting and driving law in the state and the smoking ban at WVU will affect me greatly, as they will many of the people my age in the area. Just like the many opinions others have on the laws, I have a few myself.
 
To begin with, I am not going to pretend I have never texted while driving. I took advantage of the fact that before, using my cell phone was a secondary offense, and so I always made sure to drive cautiously while using my cell phone so I didn’t get pulled over for any other reason. I do realize, though, that my driving was not nearly as cautious while texting or talking on the phone as it was when my attention was focused solely on the road. As of July 2012, texting while driving is a primary offense, which means if you’re seen doing it, you can get pulled over for it and receive a ticket. The first offense is automatically a $100 fine.
 
There have been many times while riding in a car with a friend that I have found myself gripping the handle bar and sitting on the edge of my seat while they were texting. As a passenger, it’s much more noticeable how texting can affect someone’s driving. Also, as a teenage girl, I cannot say that I have never fixed my hair or put on makeup while driving or stuffed my face with a McDouble while running late to work (when I should’ve been eating a salad). Regardless, I believe things such as those can have the same affects on driving as texting does. Obviously, texting and driving is a serious issue that has caused many devastating accidents, and I would never disagree with that. I believe, though, that texting is not the only thing that can affect your driving skills.
 
This new texting and driving law has made me much more aware of my driving and made me realize that I should always be more cautious and concentrate on the road more than the newest text from my friend that isn’t nearly as important as my life. With that said, that’s what more people should consider. Although asking all of the public to be responsible is more than likely a lost cause, if people would realize that driving a motor vehicle is incredibly dangerous and sometimes fatal without their full concentration, maybe there would not have to be laws for what you can and cannot do in your car. When you truly think about it, it makes a lot of sense that staring at a cell phone screen while you should be watching a road while driving at high speeds is obviously a terrible idea. Maybe people should start taking things upon themselves instead of relying on laws, but as I said, that’s a long shot.
 
As a firm believer in allowing people to do whatever they wish as long as it’s of no expense to others, I have mixed emotions on the smoking ban on WVU’s campus. As of July 2013, which is in fact a year away, smoking on the WVU campus will not be allowed. Personally, I do not smoke cigarettes, but honestly, I do not mind being around cigarette smoke. As statistics have shown though, cigarette smoke and the many chemicals in it can obviously be detrimental to your health, especially when you receive it secondhand. Seeing as how smoking has been banned from indoors for some time on WVU’s campus, it probably will be incredibly difficult as a smoker now that you cannot smoke outdoors either, especially if you’re going from class to class. I’ve found it to be pretty easy, personally, to get away from cigarette smoke outdoors on campus when I do not want to smell it, so on that hand, I do not know if an entire ban was necessary. Many people, though, do have issues with asthma and such, in which cigarette smoke can have a much greater affect on them. I feel as if a smoking section, out of the way of the paths that non-smokers have to travel to class, would have been the best option, but if I wanted a say, I should have ran for a position on the Board of Governors.
 
One thing I am positive of is that the smoking ban will make the campus a little cleaner without all the cigarette butts and smoke in the air. I’m also sure the texting ban will prevent a few car accidents as well and probably save a few lives. Although these new laws may make a few people unhappy, overall, I feel they will better the state and our largest university in a lot of ways. Obviously, a law would not be created if there had not been a problem in the first place.
 


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