Drivers still texting on the road

As of the first of the month, using a handheld cellphone while driving is a primary offense that could result in a traffic citation, just as is texting while driving.

I have to admit, I haven’t seen a decrease in the number of people driving along the streets of Parkersburg talking on their cellphones. In fact, I saw my prime type of offender the other day, turning a corner, talking on her cellphone and smoking a cigarette. I have to admit I don’t have the coordination to even attempt that … and neither did she, considering she nearly hit a car – mine.

When the primary offense ban on talking on a cellphone while driving first came out, a frequent lunch partner went into a rant of sorts about how the state should also ban smoking while driving, drinking a soft drink, eating or doing anything else that might distract a driver. His logic was the new law is going to force him to wear an earpiece while driving, which will make it more difficult to hear an approaching fire or police vehicle. I asked if he planned to wear an earpiece in both ears?

Of course, being the agitator I sometimes like to be, I added to my friend’s list that maybe the state should ban listening to the radio, listening to CDs, talking to others in the car, having children in the car or having anyone in the car because those also could be a distraction. Heaven knows a child in the back seat can be a huge distraction … a distraction that doesn’t necessary lessen as the child becomes a teenager or young adult.

The bottom line is my friend has no intention of not using his cellphone on long-distance drives, just as I have no intention of not listening to Sirius-XM radio on trips to Washington or Central Ohio. The difference is it’s not illegal for me to listen to Sirius radio or use the cellphone bluetooth sync to my car’s radio, but it is illegal for him to use his handheld cellphone unless he puts it on speaker.

It was bizarre, though, that on the first day of the ban on using handheld phone while driving I received two emergency warnings on my phone as I was driving to the office. I had never before heard the warning alert come through my car bluetooth system. One alerts was for a flood watch and the other was for a Cleveland, Ohio, amber alert.

It’s interesting that it is illegal to use your handheld cellphone while driving, but emergency warnings are issued through them, which certainly might take more of your attention from the road. Hmmmm!

* * *

A Virginia funeral home has begun offering a “drive-by funeral viewing” that might or might not be in conjunction with a traditional funeral viewing and service.

Funeral home officials said they were making it possible for disabled mourners to show their respects, for mourners to drive by at all hours of the night and in all types of inclement weather. The concept was to make the viewing and service as unique as the deceased might want it to be.

I guess I’m just too much of a traditionalist because my only response to such a drive-by funeral is tacky! tacky! tacky!

Contact Jim Smith at