Monday, July 20, 2009

Next? No Burritos

This morning, via The Dallas City Hall Blog, I was directed to Pete's Place, where Pete Oppel takes on the possibility of expanding a ban on using cell phones while driving. For one, I'm not sure where the budget deficit the city is suffering and it's need to hire more police comes in to the cell phone ban argument. Maybe it's Monday and my synapses aren't firing completely, but I'm not seeing the link there. But thought flowchart aside, I'm also significantly torn about extending the ban, just as I was torn about the original one, which bans the use of cell phones by drivers in school zones. At what point did we all start thinking it was OK to turn our government into a nanny? As Trey Garrison pointed out in his excellent piece a few months ago, Texas - and also the U.S., for that matter - has become this orgiastic celebration of rules. While I'm all for public safety, I'm also for common sense. I'm also for using the rules we already have, which will address the whole issue of cell phone use quite nicely. It's not like blood alcohol levels, where some science has to go in to determining if you broke the law. If you get in a crash or violate a traffic law while on your phone, the laws already on the books address this behavior. Nearly everyone with a license knows that driving while texting or talking on the phone is risky. Ergo, if you chose to do so while driving, you're engaging in risky, dangerous - reckless - driving. I can think of a good half dozen other things that can distract a driver. So what's next, a no burrito while driving law? No driving with kids in the car? No changing the station on your radio? Maybe a "no smoking because you might drop the lit cigarette on your lap and it will distract you while your pants are on fire and you will crash" law? Yeah. I thought so. Let's put the kibosh on this whole thing now, yes?