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Our View: Enough with the distracted driving

A Bozeman television station recently had a story about recent accidents between Three Forks and Belgrade in which Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer discussed an uptick in cell phone use while driving.

While this was very alarming to read, it certainly was not surprising.

Whether it is a trip on Interstate 90 or driving through any community in the Gallatin Valley, it is hard not to spot someone using their cell phone while driving. And this needs to stop.

There will always be accidents that will happen because of horrible conditions. Still, any accident related to cell phone usage is avoidable—checking Instagram or Snapchat, sending a text message, or holding the phone while driving is unnecessary.

All of these things can wait. Being distracted by a phone can have devastating results, and the phone should be put down.

With I-90 between Belgrade and Manhattan seeing 19,000 vehicle trips a day, there will always be some traffic, and even if there isn’t, there is still no reason to be on the phone. The Interstate can be scary enough with traffic in the early morning or evening and people speeding way too fast. Adding a distraction is scary.

This isn’t just a problem for younger drivers. It is for many of all ages. I see many people my age and older using the phone while driving. It’s a problem in all age groups.

Perhaps it is time for the Montana Legislature to pass a law outlawing the use of phones while driving and legislation with some bite. After Missouri recently passed legislation prohibiting the use of electronic devices while driving, Montana is the only state without a hands-free ordinance law.

While some cities have these laws in effect, there needs to be a law on the Interstate, which needs to happen as soon as possible.

Modern technology has been a boon in many areas, but nothing is so crucial that it cannot wait for your next stop. It will be fine not to check social media or text. While you may not hurt yourself, you could end up causing an accident that injures someone paying attention.

Especially with winter on the way, pay attention and put down the damn phones.

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