A state law designed to crack down on DWS — driving while stupid — that goes into effect Thursday shows just how tone-deaf members of the Pennsylvania Legislature really are.
Act 98 prohibits motorists from using their cell phones to send or receive text messages while operating their vehicles. The penalty for breaking the law? A whopping 50 bucks and no points on your record.
The law is better than nothing — but barely. In view of statistics showing the dire effects of keeping your eyes on the keypad instead of the road, the driving-while-texting law is a joke.
State legislators yet again have proved they lack the intestinal fortitude that a real legislature should have. A statewide ban on the use of electronic equipment while driving should have been enacted 20 years ago or more. While Act 98 gives cops the right to stop any driver they suspect is texting while driving, the measure is way too little, way too late.
By not passing a total ban on text-driving, lawmakers are incredibly stupid, ignorant, uncaring, heartless, or all of the above.
Civil libertarians, of course, will whine that Act 98 tramples their individual rights and is un-American, overly restrictive, blah blah blah, but if libertarians want a society with no laws, they should move to a country where anarchy rules the day.
A much smarter way to enhance public safety is to enact an absolute ban today, not in five years. If it’s vigorously enforced by state and local police departments, the law would indubitably save countless lives. Only a crash dummy could disagree with that. ••
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