Once upon a time, when cell-phones were young, people generally focused more on driving than talking on the phone, for only a few reasons. Firstly, the cell-phone was far too “clunky”, over-sized, and uncomfortable for most people to even want to talk on the phone while driving. Of course, there were always those that soldiered on, talking and honking simultaneously. Secondly, early cell phones had a fairly annoying tendency to lose reception and call signal while on the move, which further put a damper on mobile phone use while driving. Similarly to the former case, even shoddy reception couldn’t shake some of the earliest cell phone enthusiasts. That being said, consider the previous bits to be a representation of the purely addictive appeal of cell phones, even before the iPhone or the Droid. With such popularity, we find it more and more common now, than ever before, that with the consistent advance in cell phone comfortability and convenience, that people will unknowingly compromise their lives, and the lives of others around them, for the sake of their unlimited phone plan. It is for this phenomena, that the question is asked: Who should enforce non-usage of cell phones while driving?
The answer, is simple. When people don’t like something, like terrorism, HIV (and sub-sequential AIDS), and the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare, the government steps in. (That’s right, Big Brother is more than just a moniker, he actually fights the bullies for you.) When people need protection from themselves, it is notoriously the job of the government to protect and serve. We have learned historically that a great amount of people in our society cannot govern themselves effectively, even for their own safety. People smoke in closed spaces, abuse inhalants not intended for human use in the first place, throw away their educations, buy alcohol before food, and pay for porn before their credit card debt. This is where someone, or a group of some-ones, are forced to action for the common good. This someone, is the despicable, ever present, and ultimately necessary Uncle Sam.
Be it local, state, or federal governments, all over the nation, laws are being pushed and passed at the government level to protect and serve Joe Taxpayer. (That’s us.) And, believe it or not, these pushes can work! Look to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s “Click it, or Ticket” campaign. [pic] Which, with the help of local, and state governments, has successfully made driving without a seatbelt 100% illegal in these states: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. The Click it or Ticket campaign and subsequent government-enforced seatbelt laws have met with an 83% recognition among motorists rate, and an 81% motorist compliance rate, as per multi-state statistics. Thus, it is plain to see that in other areas of motor vehicle safety, big government can actually reinforce big change. Fewer and fewer car crashes are fatal in these states simply for these laws, and it makes sense to apply such laws to cell phone usage.
Now that we know that the government can effectively enforce such laws, we must ask: should they? The answer, again, is simple. Since the general public was unwilling to comply to seatbelt wearing as a common-sense courtesy to others, and self govern their road habits in this fashion, the government acted, and acted well. If we use the “Click it or Ticket” laws as evidence, we can see that in the face of small scale negligence, (which can lead to fatality), the government can morally and safely help us uphold the common good better than we can. This means, that the government really does do a better job than we do. Without government leadership, most people would continue to endanger others in their poorly planned attempts at self-government. Thusly, the government SHOULD intercede when necessary. (And only when necessary.)
This brings us to one of our final questions: When is it necessary for the government to intercede with cell phones specifically? Again, I have to bring up the admirable “Click It or Ticket”. When the problem of cell phone use while driving can be proven to cause fatalities and collateral damages among motorists, it is in fact a force to be ameliorated, if not eradicated, for the sake of the common good. As per a recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, [here], talking can be up to 2.3 times as potentially fatal as non-distracted driving, and texting can be up to 23 times as potentially fatal. By another source, [here], it is shown that texting is up to three times more potentially fatal than drunk driving. After taking these things into account, it is plain to see that NOW is the necessary time for government to act to effectively lower the commonality of such negligence, and NOW is the time for reform, before more people die by the “wats up lol” crazies!
In finality, when all things are said and done, we know three things: We are negligent. (Some of us may not be, but most humans are.) We are capable of reversing negligence via government action. (“Click It or Ticket” proves.) We are in need of effective government action NOW. (To prevent more deaths by phone.) With those three things in mind, how can you not but agree that the government is better suited to this job than we, the truly negligent ones, are? How can you not but agree, that in the face of the purely dangerous nature of something as commonplace as texting while driving, that there should be a governmental safeguard? Think about it like this: The next time you’re on the road, with your wife, kids, and your dog in tow, do you really want to worry about someone murdering your family with their vehicle at the behest of negligence, or would you rather enjoy the peace of mind that the long arm of the law can bring with laws and increased vigilance? Its not the American dream to have to watch the road for text maniacs, knuckles white around the wheel, bringing further omnipresent distraction into driving. In this particular case, it is better for everyone to leave it the men in blue, and to go one with your life to your day job. Leave it to the working class heroes, people. Its their job.