THUMBS UP: More of us than others have been guilty of it, but it’s something we all as Utahns can improve upon: driving hands-free of our cellphones. There’s plenty on them to distract us — between messages, alerts, music, podcasts and, yes, still phone calls — while sitting and walking, much less driving.
Many states have taken this leap, and it would be to the benefit of all Utahns on the roads for the Utah Legislature to take another round of looking at outlawing holding our phones while driving, and we hope that Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross and Rep. Carol Spackman Moss find receptive ears. It’s a dangerous, addictive habit we can all rid ourselves of. In a Standard-Examiner article published today about the upcoming proposed bill, it states that the Utah Highway Safety Division reported more than 5,700 distracted-driving crashes in 2016, resulting in 3,300 injuries and 27 deaths.
As Utah roads get busier, we need to take the problem more seriously and address distracted driving at the root: phones.
THUMBS UP: We have plenty to be thankful for in Northern Utah as we approach Thanksgiving next week. We look forward to the future effects of Weber State University’s new Community Education Center in central Ogden that opened Thursday to provide local residents with more job skills in both English and Spanish.
THUMBS DOWN: An alarming study released this week revealed that 85 percent of all firearms deaths in Utah were the result of suicide. Locally, this should and must be a greater topic of discussion. For those who choose to embrace their Second Amendment rights, safety and caution must be taken with steps like obtaining and using gun safes. Keeping guns in a cabinet drawer or under the bed with children and other adults around is reckless and should not be considered commonplace practice anymore. Until we and our elected leaders take this more seriously, our state will continue to face overwhelming numbers of guns being used to afflict the most lethal form of self-harm.
THUMBS UP: While we do not always agree with his politics and those who he stands by, we congratulate Sen. Orrin Hatch in the nation’s acknowledgment of his sheer endurance (or length) of political service and becoming a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday. Hatch’s final term in office will conclude come January, when he will be replaced by Senator-elect Mitt Romney.
THUMBS DOWN: We’re jealous that we all didn’t get to dip our toes in Caribbean sand this week, now that Utah is finally turning chilly. WSU men’s basketball on the other hand did, as the team participated in an in-season tournament for the fifth-straight year, this time in the Bahamas. Lucky. However much we’re envious, we do wish them well in competition.