Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I urge NO on any ban on cell phone use while driving

I just sent the following message to my state legislators.

To: Senator Greg Walker; Representative Sean Eberhart
Cc: Representative Eric Allan Koch; Representative Milo Smith
Sent: Wed, 27 Jan 2010, 1:32 pm EST
Subject: I urge NO on any ban on cell phone use while driving

Thank you for your service to the citizens of Indiana.

I urge you to vote NO on any measure to criminalize the use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.

I am all for holding each driver in Indiana accountable for controlling his vehicle in as safe a manner as possible, and punishing any who carelessly or recklessly cause personal or property damage while operating a motor vehicle.

I am opposed to trying to micromanage the Indiana driver by criminalizing, before the fact, specific types of potentially-risky driving behavior.

I know this is a somewhat trendy and politically-popular form of legislation, but I urge you to resist it.

As the following link points out, distracted drivers are a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents.

Distracted Drivers Cause Motor Vehicle Accidents - Smart Motorist

Many of the factors contributing to driver distraction and accidents which are listed in this article have been around a lot longer than the cell phone.

To be consistent in micromanaging our state's drivers, the legislature would need to start working their way through the list of risky behaviors. E.g., drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, picking up something that has fallen on the floor, having an argument with a passenger, driving with too little rest, checking the map, looking at the GPS screen, using a laptop computer (i.e., police officers), adjusting the climate control, reading, shaving, applying make-up, combing hair, anger at other drivers or traffic conditions.

It would be inconsistent to skip any of these that are as risky as responsible cell phone use, but a number of items on this list would be politically quite a bit less popular to be prohibited than cell phone use.

I urge you to stay away from this slippery slope.

Just hold drivers accountable for their results and leave it to each driver to determine the most practical means of arriving safely at his destination.

Bill Starr
Columbus, Indiana

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