Kentucky could be the next state to enact a law that would prohibit using a cellphone or other personal communication devices in any way while driving.

The Hands-Free Driving bill proposed by state Reps. James Tipton and Steve Sheldon basically would prevent drivers from holding cellphones in their hands while behind the wheel. Fines for those who broke the law would range from $100 for the first offense to $200 for the second. First-time offenders could also elect to attend traffic school.

This proposed law comes at a time when distracted-driving crashes are on the rise, claiming an average of more than 3,000 lives each year.

Distracted driving involves anything that takes your attention away from the road, whether that is eating, changing the radio station, messing with a GPS system or, more commonly, using a cellphone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving — whether sending or reading messages — takes your eyes off the road for at least five seconds. If traveling 55 mph, you could travel the entire length of a football field during the time it takes to read or send a text message. Imagine what could happen in that span of time.

Texting is especially dangerous because it takes your eyes off the road, takes your hands off the wheel and takes your mind off what you should be focused on, which is driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

We support a bill that would make it illegal to use a cellphone behind the wheel in any way that has been shown to be unsafe. If you must use a cellphone as a GPS system, there are ways to go hands-free that can create a safer driving experience.

As technology advances, we must continue to mold our laws to make sure we are being responsible and safe. A law that would prohibit distracted driving and make it punishable could save many lives each year.

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