So I’m driving down Litchfield Road, minding my own business, when I look to my left and notice the person driving next to me has his head down. He is busy texting. Every once in a while he looks up, but then his head goes right back down again.

My hobby is racing cars. I compete with other amateur drivers every couple of weeks on local race tracks. We drive fast, very fast. We push our cars to the (at least perceived) limit of adhesion. We push ourselves to the limit as well. And it is a whole lot safer than driving on city streets or freeways.

On the racetrack, everyone is there for the same purpose, to go as fast as possible within the rules of the competition. Everyone is going in the same direction. Every car has been prepared and inspected (over) before it gets on track. We replace worn tires, brakes and other parts when they get beyond the optimum performance level. Everyone is focused on driving and driving only. Everyone has passed a medical exam and a doctor has signed off that he thinks we are medically fit to drive. No one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is an ambulance within a half mile of any point on the racetrack at all times and multiple fire extinguishers are placed around the track. Everyone wears a fireproof suit, helmet and five-point or six-point safety harness.

And that is why I feel so safe when I get in a race car. Virtually every point in racing is the opposite of the conditions found commuting to work. Imagine, I feel safer on a race track than on my local city streets.

Many of the conditions found in commuting aren’t resolvable. But some are.

The state Legislature should make it illegal to text or even talk on a cell phone while driving. And if the Legislature doesn’t do it, each of our local cities and towns should. It would make our streets safer, make our insurance rates go down (as a result of fewer accidents) and put some money into the city coffers. And it shouldn’t be a slap-on-the-wrist fine, it should be a real, I-don’t-want-to-pay-that-much fine.

The penalties for driving while intoxicated are serious enough that people who drink have found many ways to avoid driving when they aren’t capable. Between cabs and designated drivers and renting hotel rooms near their favorite watering holes, the penalties have changed behavior. Those are the types of penalties needed to stop people from texting while driving.

The technology exists today to keep cell phones from working while a person is driving, even to the extent that the phones can block all calls except 911 calls.

I’ve taken the pledge to not text when driving and I severely limit my cell phone use while driving. It just isn’t worth the potential consequences.

Help resolve this problem by pulling over to the side of the road and calling your state legislator to tell him or her to sponsor a no texting while driving state law. You’ll find him or her listed at azleg.gov.