Friday, March 28, 2008

try again, maryland, to stop cellphone driving

Unfortunately, a committee in the Maryland House of Representatives killed a bill for now that would make it illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving. That's too bad. It would be a decent bill. But a BETTER bill would ban talking on a cellphone at all while driving.

Some of the reasons given for voting against the bill are stupid. One legislator, Tom Hucker, said he didn't see any data that proved it was dangerous. He's just not looking hard enough. As I have noted before, there are studies that show that driving while talking on a cellphone is possibly even more dangerous than driving DRUNK. And using a hand-held phone doesn't really help much.

Barbara Frush, who demonstrates a brilliant willful ability to ignore clear evidence (she said "I've heard all the arguments, and no one has convinced me that cellphones are as dangerous as people say.") that really should earn her a place in the de facto Bush Administration (despite being a Democrat), plays the "single woman who drives around" safety argument.

Sorry, that's lame. Sure, CARRY the phone. In an emergency (being chased by a stranger in a car, in a wreck, whatever), USE the phone - maybe even while driving, if the situation requires it. But please don't try to convince me that even one-tenth of one percent of driving-while-cellphoning conversations involve emergencies. Unless Frush means emergencies that involve conveying critical information like "be sure to buy some potatoes," "did you see the latest news about Paris Hilton," or "that new guy in accounting is hot but he's a dick."

I hope Michael Lenett tries again. Every state should do something like this, as many foreign cities and countries have. Look, I don't necessarily hate cellphones. I even have one. But driving while cellphoning is dangerous - to the driver, to passengers, to drivers of other cars, and to pedestrians. It should be banned.

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