When Maryland legislators approved a texting and driving bill last year, they screwed up. The law banned writing and sending of text messages while driving, but not the reading of texts.
Drivers also were free to text away at red lights, with their motors running and transmissions in drive.
The well-intentioned legislators behind the Maryland texting law struggled with proper wording of a texting and driving bill, as have many other lawmakers nationwide. You’d think legislation designed to close these loopholes would sail through the General Assembly, but not this year.
Meet state Sen. Allan Kittleman, former minority whip and current class clown of the Maryland Senate.
As SB 424 neared a preliminary approval in the Senate, Kittleman decided to tack on an amendment that would have made it illegal to read a newspaper while driving. It was immediately rejected. Then he tried an amendment that have criminalized eating and drinking while driving. Another quick rejection.
“You can’t tell me it is more safe to hold some French fries and a Big Mac and Coke than it is to look down and read some text messages,” Kittleman said.
SB 424’s sponsor, Sen. James Brochin, responded, dryly: “Eating is not a cerebral event,” he said. “You just do it.”
Kittleman later explained that he’d filed the amendments in order to make a point about the folly of legislating distracted driving behaviors since they were too numerous.
He wasn’t really serious, he said.
Perhaps Kittleman would like to try out his comedy routine before the families of more than 380 people killed by distracted driving in Maine over the past five years.
Tough crowd, we hear.