Car Cell Phones – Are They Really As Dangerous As They Sound?
State legislatures around the USA have killed 30 bills designed to regulate or prohibit the use of cell phones in cars -- which is a good thing, say Libertarians, since you’re more likely to get killed by lightning than by a distracted cell phone-using driver.
When and where you responsibly use your cell phone is your own business -- so state legislatures have done the right thing to kill these busybody laws, said Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party national director.
After all, back in the early days of automobiles, state legislatures debated whether to ban car radios on the grounds that they were dangerous, and raised fears that windshield wipers would hypnotize drivers and cause crashes. Legislators rejected that exaggerated fear-mongering -- just as they have done now with today’s cellular hysteria.
Over the past few weeks, legislators in 15 states have killed 30 different bills that would ban, restrict, or regulate the use of cell phones in automobiles.
Another 69 cell phone-related bills are still winding their way through the legislative process in 23 other states -- so it is important to continue to make the case against such laws, said Dasbach.
Cell phone use in cars is just the latest fear de jour, touted by politicians who want another excuse to run our lives, he said. However, if you look at the facts, there is little reason why any legislature should make cell phone use a crime. The dangers of cell phone use are grossly exaggerated.
There are now 100 million cell phone users around the USA, and yet according to a new federal analysis of 1997 crash data by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, cellular phones were a possible factor in only 57 deaths that year, said Dasbach. By comparison, an average of 89 people are killed by lightning every year, according to the Statistical Assessment Service.
Politicians get nervous about every new car technology. When the windshield wiper was invented in 1903, several automakers refused to install them on the grounds they might hypnotize drivers, said Dasbach.
Some states once drafted legislation to ban radios from cars, according to Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Perhaps those anti-radio legislators have been reincarnated as today’s anti-cell phone politicians?
Driving recklessly is already illegal, as it should be. If you cause an accident because you’re distracted by your cell phone or because you’re fiddling with your CD player or yelling at the kids in the back seat, you’ve already broken the law, said Dasbach. Another law making an already illegal activity more illegal won’t accomplish anything except to give politicians an inflated sense of accomplishment.
There are three decade’s worth of evidence that people can drive safely while using communications devices. Hundreds of thousands of police officers have used car radios for decades without any indication that they caused traffic accidents, noted Dasbach. And millions of people used CB radios in the 1970s, while traffic fatalities steadily fell. Politicians should explain why police radios and CB radios are safe, while cell phones are supposedly causing carnage.
For all those reasons, politicians in the 23 states with pending cell phone bills should do the right thing, and, legislatively speaking, hang up on any remaining anti-cell phone laws, said Dasbach.
Let’s not make DWT -- Driving While Talking -- a criminal offense, he said. Let’s trust people to use their cell phones in automobiles responsibly. And let’s not trust politicians to pass more laws to save us from their latest Crisis-of-the-Day.
Isack Halaba contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.cellular-camera-phones.com.
Great information on cellular camera phones plus phone plans, options and accessories for all brand names.