News

Texting behind the wheel

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Many text-messaging drivers say they will keep up the practice despite a new law effective Jan. 1 that makes texting while driving illegal.

They will, however, be more careful.

“I don’t think I will stop completely. However, it will make me think twice before I do and I will be more discreet about how I do it,” said 29-year-old Kelcey Hendricks of Federal Way. “Like limiting texting to only while stuck at red lights or when traffic is at a standstill. But I know I shouldn’t be doing it at all. It really is ridiculous.”

Even for routine texters, typing letters into a phone while driving can be a distraction, Hendricks said.

“I’m the worst. I’ll admit texting while driving has caused a few close calls for me. And other times, I drive really really slow while texting — especially while merging on the freeway at 30 miles per hour. Oops,” he said. “I catch myself all the time. I’ve got my method down pretty good though. Guess not anymore.”

Federal Way resident Briana D’Aguiar, 17, said she tried texting while driving, but realized that she wasn’t coordinated enough.

“I realized that I probably would crash my car if I did,” she said.

However, D’Aguiar said she has many friends who text while they drive. She doesn’t think the new law will stop them.

“People need to communicate and when they’re in their car, it’s like their down time, so that’s a good time,” she said.

There are measures a person can take to be more safe while texting and driving, said 17-year-old Daniel Baral of Federal Way. Baral said he texts while at stoplights, but not on the freeway.

“When you’re at a stoplight, you’re stopped and you’re not moving at all, so you can take a quick second and look at your phone I guess,” he said. “I guess I can kind of multitask, so it’s not bad. I can still do both of the things at the same time.”

Another strategy to more safely text while driving is to set your phone to automatically fill in the words when the first few letters are typed in, said 29-year-old Michelle Beach of Federal Way. That minimizes the need to look at the phone while typing.

“I didn’t even look while I text,” Beach said.

Beach said she thinks texting at stoplights should be allowed, but still, she plans to obey the new law.

“I don’t want a ticket,” she said. “I’ll probably call them instead or wait until I’m not driving.”

Effective in July of this year, talking on handheld cellphones while driving will also be illegal.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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