A first-time texting while driving offense will now cost five...

A first-time texting while driving offense will now cost five points on your license -- up from three points -- as well as a fine of $230, added for texting or use of any electronic device. Credit: iStock

A few days ago, I asked a friend for a ride to the train station. At a red light, I watched the driver in the car next to us pick his nose.

It was one of the more disgusting behaviors I've seen from drivers on Long Island. Personal hygiene aside, distractions at the wheel can place safe drivers and their passengers at risk.

Take, for instance, the woman I saw performing one of the most difficult maneuvers known to motorists. At a red light, she craned her neck toward the rearview mirror to apply mascara After the light turned green, she held up her lane to apply a few more strokes. Estée Lauder would have been horrified to see her products applied that way.

Another time, I watched a guy brush his hair with one hand and hold a cigarette and cup of coffee with his other. Traveling west on Nesconset Highway, I saw him groom one section of his hair for no less than two miles. Too bad he had to start all over again after he threw his cigarette butt out of the window. A sudden gust messed up his hair and blew away the powder he used to cover his bald spot.

I once watched another driver apply deodorant to his armpits, neck and behind his ears. And I've seen male and female drivers pick their ears, then examine the fruits of their labors.

Not as egregious, but equally annoying, are the breakfast-special, buttered-roll-eating drivers, the boombox-blasting DJ wannabes, and, of course, worst of all, the texters.

Every red light and stop sign has become a texting stop for these careless drivers, some of whom are responsible for serious and fatal accidents. The sooner lawmakers require installation of devices that prevent text-messaging in running motor vehicles, the better off we will all be. Our lives hang in the balance.

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Reader Lou DeCaro lives in Shoreham.


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