Monday, Apr 21, 2014
Editorials

Bill banning teens from talking on cell phone while driving will fail, but the message is correct


Published:

Somehow, not long ago, we as a civilization survived without being in constant contact with the world via a cell phone. We could drive to work without yammering on a phone. We could go to dinner without a photograph of it showing up on Facebook. We could stub our toe without needing to tweet about it. For some folks, though, this is impossible. In fact, it's downright primitive to even consider.

If a Florida lawmaker has his way, though, teenagers won't be able to use their cell phones while driving without facing the possibility of a ticket. A lot of folks wonder why only teens should be banned from talking on the phone while driving. Good point.

State Rep. Ira Slosberg, a Boca Raton Democrat, has filed a bill that would not allow minors to talk on the phone while driving. Slosberg, a member of the House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee, lost his daughter in a 1996 auto accident.

There's little chance this bill will go anywhere, although most of the people Highlands Today talked to about it, including law enforcement and regular citizens, supported it. It's obvious that the cell phone lobby would apply pressure like not seen before to kill this bill.

It was hard enough to get a texting while driving ban passed during the last legislative session. Even that one has lots of holes in it, but it's something. It will go into effect in October.

Many of us use our cell phones while driving, but we've also witnessed near disasters on the road due to someone talking away while not paying attention to what they're doing. The same can be said about many distractions that affect driving, but there's no denying that talking on a phone is a huge problem.

Enforcement of such laws is also difficult. Law enforcement has plenty of things to be watching for and there's no doubt drivers would pitch a fit about being pulled over for talking on the phone.

No, Slosberg's bill has little chance of going anywhere in the Legislature, but it's a good message every driver should understand. Being distracted while operating a vehicle can cause serious, even fatal accidents. Pull over to have that conversation, or wait until you get to your destination. Life won't derail if the phone's turned off for a bit.

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