TeeJaw Blog

Don’t Let The Nanny State Take Your Cell Phone Away

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Friday, December 16, 2011, 10: 17 AM

The horrible pile up in Missouri the other day, I’ve called it the 11-11-11 crash, [correction to that previous post — only 2 people killed, 38 injured.  Lots of photos of the crash here] the perfect excuse the nannies at the NTSB were waiting for. They’re using it to try to justify a recommendation for a Federal ban on all cell phone use in your car, even the latest built in bluetooth that allows you to talk on your cell phone completely hands free with eyes straight ahead and both hands on the wheel. I have that in my car and it makes talking to someone 1,000 miles away very little different than if they were sitting in the seat next to me. In fact, it’s even better because when your interlocutor is sitting next to you it is a natural human reaction to turn toward them every few seconds as you speak. You don’t do that when using bluetooth capabilities.

Horace Cooper writes about this latest round of government overreach:

This is a remarkably heavy-handed response. Every American is concerned about automobile safety, but the response to the problem should be commensurate. There are alternatives involving the use of technology and information that exist.

The cell phone is perhaps one of the most remarkable innovations of the 20th century, its very ubiquity a sign of its utility. Restricting access to cell phones illustrates the far-reaching ability of the nanny state to dictate to ordinary Americans how they will live out their lives without regard to their input or concerns.

Many states and localities will use the NTSB action as a pretext for adopting new and higher fines and more aggressive enforcement of existing cell phone bans.

not only does the NTSB recommend against holding cell phones and talking in the car, they seek to ban any use in the car with Bluetooth built-in or aftermarket. In fact, Department of Transportation’s Secretary Ray LaHood has said: “There’s a lot of technology out there that can disable phones and we’re considering that.”

Distracted driving can be unsafe, but a nanny state on steroids kills liberty. Instead of solutions that are voluntary and rely on education and technology, Washington has responded with a knee-jerk ban on all cell phone use in the automobile. This is not the right answer — a ban is a solution whose time hasn’t come. Adults can and should decide what circumstances warrant the prudent use of a cell phone while driving.

This approach is particularly inappropriate in light of the reality that the typical driver faces any number of distractions when they get behind the wheel. Pretending it will be safer merely because we can’t use our phones anymore is absurd.

Read the whole thing, and consider writing your Congressman and Senator and let them know you don’t want this nanny-state infringement of your liberty, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Hundred of thousands of drivers are using their cell phones in their cars every day with complete safety, police and fire department personnel are using hand held radios while running hot through dense traffic at speeds far in excess of the speed limit and nobody is trying to take their radios away from them. A nanny state is one that treats the ordinary citizen like a child. Our government should not be in the business of hurling these insults at us based on the whims of accomplished bureaucrats.

Read more: Ed Morrissey writes, NTSB cell-use ban proposal an overreaction, and a waste of time

and Glenn Reynolds writing in Popular Mechanics, Why the Cell Phone Ban is Wrong.

Morrissey and Reynolds make the  point that it is dubious to say cell phone use caused this crash.  This a freeway rear-ender crash, one of the most common accidents in America.  Traffic often slows suddenly on freeways, then speeds up again just as suddenly.  This results in cars not keeping a safe following distance.  That certainly appears to be the cause of this crash, the tractor trailer slowed suddenly for construction, everyone behind was following too close and a chain reaction pile up occurred.  That the driver of the first vehicle behind the slowing truck happened to using a cell phone cannot be said to be the cause for the pile up because their is a more common and more likely explanation for it.  Were all the other vehicles simultaneously using cell phones?  Not likely.  But this is just the sort of thing nanny bureaucrats love to use as an excuse to take more and more liberty away from the American people.  They don’t want you running around free without their supervision.

After reading all this you will be able to write a terrifically powerful and fact-filled letter to your congressman and senator and I sincerely hope that you do.

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