I'm all for civil liberties, but don't you think allowing the use of hand-held phones, laptops, cameras, or activities such as reading and drawing for a person who is simultaneously operating a car causes severe risk of injury or death?
Of course I certainly support the second clause here.
Civil liberties are the motive behind this bill, but not for reasons that you (or others) might suspect.
I don't necessarily hold that one has the right to drive while doing distractful activities such as these. However, I'm concerned about the implications of this law's enforcement and the spirit of it, rather than the letter.
The lynchpin of this bill - as I'm sure we can all interpret - is texting while driving. I'm sure every member of this assembly has a resident busybody in their circles who prattles on about the dangers of "texting while driving." However, how does one enforce that? For instance:
using hand-held cell phones in any capacity
Hypothetically speaking this bill would prohibit people from looking at their phone to check the time or using an app. Seems reasonable, but again - how does one enforce that? Heavy-handedly, in some instances.
The underlying issue has already worked its way into the courts. In California, Steven R. Spriggs received a $165 ticket two years ago for using his iPhone while driving in stop-and-go traffic near Fresno. A highway patrol motorcycle officer rolled up alongside his car after seeing the glow from the screen on Mr. Spriggs's face.citation
"I held it up and said, 'It's a map,' " Mr. Spriggs said. He was not talking on the phone, which is prohibited by California law.
But the police officer would not budge. "He said, 'Pull over, it doesn't matter,' " said Mr. Spriggs, the director of planned giving at California State University, Fresno.
It's also worth noting that a court
has recently ruled that police officers need warrants to search cellphones. What police officer in their right mind would go through such an exercise for a pedestrian offense which is punishable by community service, when they could devote more time to actual violent offenses such as murder and rape?
The spirit of the law seems well-intentioned. We're all aware of the old adage regarding good intentions, and in some cases laws such as these are actually dangerous.
A new study has shown that state laws banning driving while texting have not reduced accidents, and in some cases may have even resulted in more accidents. How could it have increased accidents? Because people who want to text anyway -- especially unskilled young drivers -- begin holding their phones lower to avoid detection, making it that much more difficult to control the car and be aware of their surroundings.citation
For the rest of the bill - how does one enforce a prohibition on reading while driving
, or grooming while driving?
Seems like too much low-hanging fruit for police officers to pull people over.