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Texting while driving? There’s an app for that

WHY BAN TEXTING WHEN YOU CAN BLOCK IT? Last week an Israeli start-up company, Good2Go, announced a device that prevents drivers from using selected apps while driving.

As one journalist here opined, “that would seem a little more effective than outlawing texting while driving, since I’m not sure how much cops really enforce that.”

According to Jerusalem Online, the device will run around 700 shekels (about $175), is attached to the windshield near the rearview mirror (like a radar detector) and blocks distracting apps the driver – or the driver’s parents – have selected.

Say, social media and text messaging.

The founder and CEO of the company, Guy Sela, says, “we hear about car accidents caused by distracted drivers every day. This solution offers an easy-to-use safety measure.”

And it’s safer and more proactive than paying a $25 fine ($50 on repeat violations) for texting while driving, or worse, causing a wreck and perhaps injuring or even killing someone.

WHY DO SENIORS HAVE TO RENEW ANNUALLY? Tom Kierstead called to say the state is always in need of cash, so why doesn’t it give drivers over the age of 75 the option of paying for a four- or eight-year license rather than requiring annual renewals at no charge?

Robert McEntyre, spokesman for the Motor Vehicle Division’s parent agency, Taxation and Revenue, explains “annual free driver’s license renewals for citizens 75 and older is mandated by state law.”

Specifically, 66-5-19 (B), which states “at age seventy-five and thereafter, the applicant shall renew the applicant’s license on a yearly basis at no cost to the applicant.”

Tom, who’s 82 and drives a motorcycle, will have to propose his “sure way of increasing income” for the state to lawmakers.

CAN WE REPORT HANDICAP PLACARD CHEATS? G. Vogt emails “I see a lot of people who do have a placard but seem healthier than I am. I’m wondering if there is a website or app that will give me information for a placard if I have the number from it, just to see who it was issued to and why. I’m hesitant to confront someone, but as I said, I see plenty of apparently healthy people using a placard when it appears they don’t need it.”

With the understanding that not all handicaps are apparent – heart conditions, multiple sclerosis, bone cancer, etc. – former MVD/Tax and Rev spokesman S. U. Mahesh says “folks can call MVD to verify if a handicap placard is valid or not. They can call our call center at 827-4636 with the placard number. MVD instructs customers to shred the placards once expired or send them back to MVD for destruction.

“However, if someone is using an expired handicap placard or an able-bodied (individual is) using a valid handicap placard, they could be cited by law enforcement authorities. We encourage residents to report handicap placard violators to their local law enforcement or parking enforcement agencies. Each citation for handicap placard violation carries a $500 fine.”

NO INSPECTIONS LEADS TO SCOFFLAW CREEP: A recent column examined New Mexico’s vehicle inspection system – make that lack thereof – and that has Robert Anderson opining that no checks makes cheaters bolder.

“With no inspections anymore I have seen vehicles with no lights (or) turn-signal devices all over the place. Some have darkened headlight and tail-light covers … some with no fenders or bumpers and other safety devices. I just wonder what their brakes are like. …”

Bob emails he’s “noticed also a lot of people are taking the sound muffling devices off their cars, trucks and motorcycles because no one is checking to see anymore. What we are getting is some of the most awful loud vehicles running up and down our streets. … (and) a higher level of aggressiveness. … We call it bullying in street terms. A lot of these people with no sound suppression devices I have noticed like to accelerate their vehicles past other cars and people standing on the streets, producing a loud, ear-deafening injury to the nerves. The big designer pick-up trucks and Harley-type motorcycles are loud and deep, producing a sound like a hammer pounding on the body, while the multi-cylinder motorcycles produce a high pitch like putting an ice pick into the ears.”

Bob says “if we want to put a damper on bullying all around in our city, we could start with vehicle inspections, as vehicles are one way people act out their other problems.”

Like Tom, Bob will have to head to the Roundhouse to effect change.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

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