Sunday, July 1, 2007

Cell Phones, Accidents and Regulation

I heard years ago that car accidents are four times more likely to be caused by cell phone being used than by drunk driving*. Sometime later I read that New York State banned driving with regular cell phones. One had to choose between some sort of hands-free option while driving or no phone at all.

Just two days ago I found out that my state has enacted a similar law that goes into effect today. Today. And I found out only 48 hours ago by a fluke visit to a random website. It irritates me that something like this was kept for the most part from the public. If the state is making this law for the benefit of public safety, one would think that the officials would make it more known. Since they haven't my cynical side suspects that they merely want to take a monetary advantage of people who don't know about or refuse to follow the law.

Regardless of the government's motivation, I think this law is a good thing. Normally I don't like the state to enact laws that regulate personal safety (such as mandating motorcycle helmets). However, given the rate of accidents that are caused by cell phones hopefully many people in addition to the drivers will benefit.

*By quoting this statistic I by no means want to mitigate the danger of drunk drivers. I suspect that even if cell phones cause more
accidents, drunk drivers cause more fatal accidents.

UPDATE: I talked to a police officer who attends my church and he said that he hasn't heard of this law. Later I found out that it was some sort of joke to try to convince as many people as possible that this was true.

1 comment:

Flannery said...

What is that snappy thing St. Thomas says about laws not having binding force without promulgation?