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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Balance is needed in legislating safety

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cell phones and driving an automobile don't always mix. There is ample documentation that motorists driving while talking on a cell phone are a potential hazard. But one Vermont legislator wants to take the issue one step beyond cell phones. We can only hope his efforts end in dismal failure.

Vermont lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would ban eating, drinking, smoking, reading and talking on a cell phone while driving. Maryland and Texas are considering similar legislation.

This proposed legislation is a prime example of the way some governments overreact to real problems. I fully agree that cell phone usage while driving is not the smartest thing to do. But to consider a ban on the other issues is overreaching by any definition. And that is also why so many people are less than supportive of more government intervention in our daily lives. There must be some balance but, unfortunately, some lawmakers wouldn't know balance if it hit them in the head.

And another danger to this thinking is that those of us who might well support a ban on cell phones while driving would never support legislation as farfetched as proposed in Vermont. Maybe it's just the dismal climate in Vermont that has lawmakers' heads spinning. Who knows?

Here's the bottom line. We depend on government to monitor our safety in many instances. But if we look to the government to solve all of our problems, the result will simply be more problems.

Maybe I'm just a closet Libertarian. That party believes in virtually no government intervention in our personal lives. When you think about it, those Libertarians may actually have a good idea.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen