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Column: Were they really studying for a test?

Commuting to work is not a fun ordeal.

While it may allow for some time to think or jam out to music, it’s a major hassle because of sharing the road with people who cannot function properly behind the wheel.

Over the years, I’ve had up to a 120-mile round trip, which was depressing. It seemed to zap my free time away. Luckily, I don’t have to be on the Interstate as much, but it is still enough to make me shake my head or curse under my breath repeatedly.

On a recent trip, I was sitting shotgun and decided to get a closer look while passing someone. I hate to stare, but I wondered why this little Mini Cooper was all over the road. The driver had notes on the dashboard and appeared to be studying for a test or interview. They were paying no attention to the road, and it was a scary proposition even to try and pass. I’m sure whatever led to having to read the notes was not something out of the blue and could have been done before driving.

This was another selfish act on I-90. It happens daily, and I’m not sure what is worse, the yahoos in the winter or a bit more traffic in the summer. Tourists are great, but I’m concerned about how easy it appears to be to pass a driving test elsewhere.

A few minutes later, the driver of the Cooper increased their speed and passed us. It was so fast I couldn’t tell if they were done studying or perhaps late for wherever they needed to be. After a few more minutes, the car started to slow down again, and we passed it as it was once again weaving in and out of the lanes.

This time as I looked, the driver was no longer reading the notes. They had a phone set up and were watching a video. I was glad we reached our destination and did not have to deal with the nonsense anymore.

I am on my phone more than I should be, but never when driving. There is nothing that important. A call can be answered through blue tooth, and checking a text or Snap Chat can wait. If it is an emergency, pull over and take care of it. It’s not just younger people. I see people of all ages yacking on their phones with one hand on the wheel or driving with their knees.

It’s time for Montana politicians to enact a distracted driving law. Why no statewide law addresses this in Montana or Missouri is a joke. There not only needs to be a law, but it also needs to come with stiff penalties. I’m talking about the type of fine that would have really made the person studying, and watching videos think about what they were doing.

During this session, the legislature has been addressing many issues, some far less important than making the roads safer from distracted driving.

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be about blue and red or left or right; it should be about safety.

One way to make the roads safer is to limit distracted drivers. Would a law totally prevent this? Of course not. But it’s a great start.

Next time you sit passenger while driving on the Interstate, look closer when you pass people.

You will be surprised how important Instagram must be.

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