Good Proposal?

From the Chicago Tribune:

Do you support a ban of using hand held devices while driving? Yea or Nay?

SPRINGFIELD—

— A new proposal to ban the use of cellphones while driving in Illinois passed the House on Friday along with two other traffic safety measures.

Sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, the bill would prohibit hand-held devices from being used by drivers except in emergencies. Drivers would have to use hands-free features or pull to the side of the road to use a cellphone. The bill goes to the Senate, where a similar proposal died last year.

D’Amico said there is a growing realization that Illinois has a patchwork of cellphone driving regulations. The Tribune reported last year that 76 municipalities had enacted cellphone restrictions.

“Right now, everybody is driving town to town, and you don’t know where you can and can’t pick up the phone — let alone, it’s a huge distraction while you’re driving the car,” D’Amico said. “We want to do everything we can here to try and reduce accidents and fatalities.”

But Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, likened the proposed ban to an Orwellian “Big Brother” crackdown.

One poignant argument for the bill came when Democratic Rep. Laura Fine of Glenview said her husband lost an arm in a crash caused by a distracted driver. “A phone call is not that important,” said Fine. “If your family is impacted by a distracted driver, it is devastating.”

- See more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-legislature-cell-phones-0302-20130302,0,621934.story#sthash.b2YDmQQ5.dpuf

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • metanoia

    Does the bill also include hand held cheeseburgers, donuts, eye makeup, coffee, books, magazines and a whole host of others things that I observed in my 45 years of commuting to my office on Illinois roads?

    While I understand the need of informing the public that these distractions can be dangerous, is this the best way to crack down on these disturbances. I would suggest a pretty harsh penalty if in driving an automobile it has been determined that a crash happened as a result of doing any of the above behaviors.

  • Corinth1213

    Most laws fill the void when virtue has left a society. Our heart for caring about the lives of others demonstrates itself no more graphically and pathetically than our willingness to answer a phone call about dinner or to text “whassup” and endanger everyone’s life. I mourn that we need such laws. The theory that law books filled with proper writing will make us a better society is beginning to show it is an inferior philosophy. As the exponential growth in laws and regulations demonstrates, we aren’t getting better. We are ceasing to learn to live with the responsibilities of freedom and told to live content in the fences like cattle. So, do I support a ban? Yes, there is a hole in the fence.

  • Barb

    Phones and texting already banned in my state. –but luckily not coffee and subway sandwiches.

  • Damien

    Why not but I’m concerned that this might increase the likelihood to crash if people decide to try to hide that they’re using a cellphone, for instance by placing their phone lower than they would if it were legal to hand-hold a phone. It seems safer to be able to glance through the dashboard and at the phone at the same time, rather than completely ignoring what’s happening on the road in order to keep the phone concealed.

    There seems to be some data that indicates that this is exactly what is happening when text bans are implemented (http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr092810.html).

    However, it might still be a good idea to try that approach if we want to get more data on whether bans work or not. It’s a great feature of the American system that different states can enact different policies and conduct experiments. It would be even better if we could somehow randomize implementation to introduce more control though.

  • Robin

    I believe most of the early research has shown an increase in accidents that enacted such bans…the leading theory is that because there is now a ban, drivers lower their handheld devices below the steering wheel to avoid detection, increasing the distance their eyes must travel to see the screen and increasing the time their eyes are not on the road.

    Good intentions, interrupted by unintended consequences.

  • Dan

    The issue is not having two hands on the wheel but the driver being distracted. I’ve seen people moon-walking into traffic talking on their bluetooth. It doesn’t seem the government can cut out driver distractions. How many times have you been watching the driver of the car in front of you yelling at the kids or playing the air-drums while driving? I suppose out gentle keepers could outlaw radios and children while driving.

    When sandwiches are outlawed, only outlaws will have sandwiches.

  • http://www.doulos.at Wolf Paul

    Such a ban is standard in most of Europe … wish they would combine it with a requirement for Bluetooth handsfree built into every new car by default.

  • ChrisB

    Using phones in cars already banned in the whole of Australia. Now one state Victoria, being very Victorian, wants to ban using handsfree as well. Bans might be in place, with quite hefty fines, but for some people it makes no difference. Not entirely sure what you can do, unless someone comes up with a device that makes a car a “phone-free” zone.

  • Sarah

    Yes. Our brains have not evolved to operate a projectile traveling over 60 miles per hour…and that is with full attention given to the task. I support all bans on distracted driving. My phone rides in my handbag in the back seat or trunk. I do not converse hands free or not. I also minimize interaction with passengers while driving. This is based on a realistic assessment of my physical and mental capabilities. And no, I am not old. I just try to be cognizant that I can very easily take a life if I am not fully aware when operating my car.

  • Larry Barber

    Dumb, there are already laws against inattentive driving. Just enforce those. We don’t need a law to cover every specific cause of inattentive driving.

  • Kent Haley

    I say ban cell phones all together. They are turning us into a race of people that can’t do anything without checking the little 3 inch screen every 30 seconds. Promising freedom, they have enslaved us.

  • Jag

    I never feel bad about having a beer while I drive, because it puts me on equal footing with people using their phones. If they are allowed to choose be deliberately impaired, so do I, and at least I get a good feeling rather than processing email.

    I don’t understand why we need a law for DUI — aren’t the existing laws that cover inattentive, careless and reckless driving enough? Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave.


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