Yesterday morning, Governor Markell held a big ceremony at AAA Mid-Atlantic’s corporate headquarters in Wilmington, showing off his signing of the freedom-restricting bill, banning cell phone use while driving.
Quoting from the Delaware House of Representatives House Majority Caucus press release:
Sponsored by Rep. Darryl M. Scott, House Substitute 1 for House Bill 229 goes into effect 180 days from signature – January 2, 2011. The comprehensive statewide restriction requires drivers to use a hands-free device to talk while driving and also prohibits text messaging, sending or reading e-mails or browsing websites while the vehicle is in motion. Delaware also becomes the 30th state to prohibit texting while driving with the signing of this law.
We already have laws that deal with distractions while driving. These laws are redundant.
Another quote from the press release:
“Some people objected to it saying: ‘Well, people do lots things in the car that are distracting. They listen to the radio; they talk to passengers; they eat,’ ” said Sen. [Karen] Peterson, D-Stanton, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor. “But I’ve never almost been run over by someone eating a Big Mac, but I have been almost hit a dozen times in the past year by someone talking on a cell phone.”
More than likely we can fill our comments with stories of folks nearly “run over” by drivers trying to dress, put on makeup, comb their hair, etc. and probably even while putting away that Monster Thickburger.
This law punishes those of us who use extra care while driving and using our phones. Maybe simply enforcing existing laws and an aggressive public service campaign would encourage proper use of the cell phone in the car.
“Texting and using a hand-held cell phone while driving are a threat to public safety, and the 2010 AAA Mid-Atlantic poll found that 95 percent of Delaware drivers agree,” said Ronald W. Kosh, AAA Mid-Atlantic Vice President of Public and Government Affairs AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Did their members think that a law targeting the ban of cell phone use was the proper way of dealing with the situation?
Maybe a campaign something of this nature would have dealt with the problem:
It’s a feel-good bill that it’s sponsors can use to campaign on in the fall. It’s a bill that restricts freedom.