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    The only message worth noting: Don’t drive distracted

    RE “N.H. court to hear appeal of driver who was reading text” (Metro, Oct. 13): Chad Belleville’s appeal of his prison sentence for vehicular assault heightens the need for a realistic approach to driving laws. Belleville’s attorney suggests that anyone could have done what his client did; this argument dilutes the responsibility each of us assumes when we get into a car and drive.

    Once in the driver’s seat it, is our individual responsibility to pay attention to driving first and foremost. There will be ongoing calls for stricter and more specific laws about texting, handheld phones, and so forth. The reality is that, in essence, the laws exist already. Laws against driving while distracted and driving while impaired should apply to cellphone use. If people caught using a phone while driving were charged with driving while impaired, we would have fewer laws and safer roads.

    Gregory J. Smolley

    Foster, R.I.