Lowell lawyer: Ban cell phones in cars

In the aftermath of last week’s conviction of a Haverhill teen of causing the death of another by texting while driving, today’s Globe publishes a letter to the editor advocating the complete ban of all cell phone use while driving a car. The letter’s author is “Kathleen M. O’Donnell of Lowell” who I take to be Attorney Kathy O’Donnell of the Marcotte Law Firm who in her 25 years as a trial attorney has served as President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Greater Lowell Bar Association. Here’s the text of the letter:

Texting while driving is not just an epidemic among teenagers (“Teen texting behind wheel common, study finds,” Page A1, June 8). Adult drivers appear to be more focused on their cellphones than on the road.

Our Legislature must do something about this. I would advocate for a complete ban of any cellphone use while driving. If you are on the phone, or texting, or glancing at e-mail, your attention is not on the road. Driving on public roads is a tremendous responsibility and deserves the driver’s full attention.

If something is not done to curb the widespread practice of focusing on the phone while driving, the cost to society will be great. People will be injured and property will be destroyed. Health and automobile premiums will skyrocket.

Think about this logically. Should someone read a book or newspaper, write a letter, do a crossword puzzle, or look up a phone number while driving? Someone using a cellphone behind the wheel is often doing one or more of these things.

Let’s start a campaign to return safety to our roads by requiring drivers to focus exclusively on the road while operating a heavy piece of machinery.

Kathleen M. O’Donnell