The other day the local NPR station had a debate about pending legislation in Oregon to make using a cell phone by the driver illegal while moving. Even though I have often used my cell phone while driving, I applaud this legislation and am happy to give up the practice. It’s not safe, and none of us should do it. I did an informal poll the last few days of all “near misses” with automobiles, both while I was walking and driving, and virtually all were with drivers so consumed by their conversations that they forgot they were hurtling down the road in two tons of steel. I think all of us either verbally or mentally yells “hang up and drive” at least once a day.
You would think that this basic legal nod to public safety would be embraced by almost everyone, but much to my suprise many people called to complain about the idea, reasoning that it was stripping them of their rights. “Let them take away our right to talk on a cell phone, and the next thing you know they will pass a law against eating while driving”, shouted one caller. Hmmm, thanks for the good idea. I think there should be a law against having dinner while operating a motor vehicle. I don’t want to be rear-ended at eighty miles per hour because some glutton was putting gravy on his turkey while wishing his Mom “Happy Thanksgiving” on his cell phone.
I’m a big advocate of personal freedom and keeping the government out of our lives, but if I have to pay for the right to yell at my friends while operating a motor vehicle with horrible disfigurement and death in a car accident, I’m willing to wait until I get home to make the call. Talking on a cell phone while driving is a bad idea, and here are a few other things you should not do while driving:
- Arm wrestle
- Have sex (well, maybe Clinton-style, but even that is not a good idea)
- Play Wii on the auto’s DVD system
- Work on your blog