Student calls for ban on texting while driving

There ought to be a law, according to Kristen Paolucci, that bans people from sending text messages while driving.

This idea that mobile instant message senders should be penalized for their communications behind the wheel was the theme of a 620-word essay that Paolucci entered into an essay contest sponsored by a member of the Albany County Legislature. The soon-to-be-Albany High School senior was awarded a $100 savings bond and a proclamation in her honor for winning the contest.

The contest was the brainchild of Albany County Legislator Carl Zeilman, R-Colonie.

This is the first year that we're doing the essay contest, said Zeilman, a first-year legislator, "We thought it was a good way to get teenage kids engaged in the legislative process."

Zeilman said that he had read numerous submissions from many high school students on a wide assortment of topics. But out of the more than 50 essays Zeilman reviewed, Paolucci's essay piqued Zeilman's interest the most.

"With everything going on with cell phones lately, there's nothing really going on in the Legislature with them," he said.

Paolucci said her idea to write about how it ought to be a crime to text while driving came from witnessing a habit that she admits she does not do herself.

"It took me a while to come across a topic, but one day I was driving and almost witnessed an accident where the driver was so distracted texting that he almost ran over a cat.

It definitely came to me that this has been an important issue for a while now and something should be done about it because in reality it does cause a lot of accidents," she said. "I'm definitely an 'obsessive texter' but I just cannot text and drive. It's hard enough focusing on the road itself."

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