From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I have been waiting for this one

Bill would limit cell phone use in cars to emergencies

Jim Cudaback never had a problem with people talking on cell phones while driving until he nearly got hit by someone doing just that in Kearney. Now the state senator from Riverdale wants Nebraska to join the list of states that restrict cell phone usage while driving.

Is this a good thing? Yea probably, but I think it misses the whole point of why people have trouble with cell phones and driving, especially when it makes an exception for handsfree setups;

Cudaback's bill (LB213) would allow handsfree phones to be used at any time and cell phone use during an emergency. Violators could be fined up to $100.

I have no doubt that people using cell phones have and will continue to cause accidents or near misses.

Cell phone use is blamed for distracting drivers and leading to accidents. Eight years ago the New England Journal of Medicine said cell phones pose the same risk to driving performance as drunken driving.

Given that previous cite how can using a handsfree unit be any more safe than holding a phone to ones ear?

Holding a hand to your ear while driving is not in and of itsself going to cause an accident. Most people drive with one hand anyway. Admit it how many of you drive with both hands on the steering all the time? Everytime?

It is not the mechanics of cell phone use that causes an accident, the cause is when the driver becomes distracted by the conversation.

The problem with cell phones is the same problem as driving while applying make up, trying to eat a burger, light a cigarette or read a map.

The problem is not the driver motoring about town with one hand glued to an ear, applying make up, or lighting a cigarette, the problem is drivers getting so engrossed in the chosen activity that they are not paying attention to their driving.

Just because the driver is using a handsfree set will not aliviate becoming engrossed to the point of distraction.

Enacting a law that bans the use of cell phones makes as much sense as making laws that; forbid women from applying make up, eating or smoking while operating a motor car.

When operating a Motor vehicle it is everyones primary responsibility to drive safely. There are already innumerable laws on the books that penalize unsafe driving. Those laws are the avenues that are used to prosecute drivers that, while applying make up, putting out a cigarette or eating, cause accidents.

What is wrong with applying those same penalties to cell phones users that cause accidents? What is the justification for a special law for cell phones?

Then there is the ever present exception for the societal elite;

Police, firefighters and operators of emergency vehicles, would be exempt while performing their official duties.

It is not the physical mechanics of using a cell phone that causes accidents, it is becoming so engrossed in the conversation that the driver foregoes their primary responsibility of safe motor vehicle operation. A handsfree set will not make a distracted driver safer.

No comments: