A proposed state House bill aimed at increasing penalties for people talking on cellular phones during traffic violations is unnecessary and should not be supported by the House.
State Rep. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton, introduced a bill to the House that would add drivers license points and increase fines by $25 for traffic violations involving cell phones. The bill also calls for a report on vehicle code violations involving cell phones.
Testimony on the bill was brought before the House Transportation Committee last week. Patterson requested further research into possible cell phone driving regulations. He said he didnt want a vote taken on the bill, but wanted to stimulate discussion on cell phone/traffic violation issues.
This legislation is unnecessary because cell phones arent always the cause of traffic violations. There are a myriad of factors that could take a drivers focus from the road - car radios, loud passengers, pedestrians, eating while driving and a variety of other things. If the House passes this law, does it plan on regulating car radio use, passenger noise and drive-throughs as well?
The punishment put forth by the bill is also excessive. While an extra fine may be understandable, drivers license points are unnecessary. The punishment sustained from the original violation is enough.
This legislation would be hard to enforce if passed. There is no way to conclusively prove a cell phone is the cause of a violation. Many people could be paying extra fines or getting more points on their licenses for reasons immaterial to the violation.
The traffic violations should speak for themselves. If someone is caught speeding, swerving into another lane or running a stop sign, they should be punished, but not because they were on the phone. It is not necessary to target cell phone users when cell phones arent the only problem.
The purpose of a cell phone is to be able to communicate while in transit; however, cell phone users should use caution when talking on the phone and driving. If cell phone users have trouble concentrating on driving while talking, they should take responsibility by pulling to the side of the road to take the call or waiting until they are at their destination to speak on the phone. But all cell phone users should not be punished for those who are distracted.
Cell phone users should also look into new, hands-free technology. This can help take away some of the distractions of cell phone use, still making use while driving possible. As technology improves, prices go down and cell phone users have fewer excuses not to adopt the improvements.
While the House legislation may have good intentions, it is unnecessary to target cell phone users for extra punishment. Traffic violations may be the result of a number of things, not just cell phones. The legislation punishes cell phone users who may rely on the phones for business or emergencies.
The bills extra punishment is excessive and unfairly targets people who use cell phones while driving.