Northeast Times

Editorial: Get off the phone!

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. ••

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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