A Compromise on the Cell Phone Issue

The State House passed a bill yesterday that would address the cell phone while driving issue.

Ross’s proposal would impose additional fines for a person cited for careless driving if they were found, among other things, to be reading, eating, grooming, or gabbing on a cell phone. Unlike Rep. Josh Shapiro’s cell-phone amendment, Ross’s amendment would make those violations a secondary, rather than primary offense.

I think that’s a fair compromise.  If you can’t talk on the cell phone without commiting the traffic offense of careless driving, then I don’t have any problem with the secondary offense.  It also includes a number of other items that are equally hazardous.  Shapiro’s bill was too draconian.  If I’m stuck in traffic, I don’t want to risk a fine because I call the office to tell them I’m running late.  Not much of a risk to the public for calls of that nature.

2 thoughts on “A Compromise on the Cell Phone Issue”

  1. What bothers me about making it a primary offense is that any dishonest police officer (there are quite a few of them, just as there are in the general population – they are human, after all) can simply claim that you were observed engaging in “distracting” activities, and proceed to pull you over.

    I nearly get killed at least once a week on my motorcycle by distracted drivers, so the temptation is strong to “do something” about them – but – I believe the police already have too much discretion as it is.

    Why not just allow insurance companies to refuse payment if a driver causes an accident due to negligent cell phone use? How about charging people with criminal negligence after the fact if they are found to have caused accidents due to their negligent use of cell phones/newspapers, etc.?

  2. About 7 years ago here, in CO, the jpassed the seatbelt law as a secondary offense saying that it will always just be an add-on. Last year, of course, they have passed a law making it a primary offense. That slippery slope is always there.

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