Thursday, January 24, 2008

1-24-08: Massachusetts Cell Phone Ban

It looks like Massachusetts is getting in on the cell-phone ban action. It hasn't passed through the state senate yet, but my guess is that it will soon. Personally, I think it's a good idea to limit cell phone conversations (while driving) to hands-free. It's a real distraction, and similar laws have worked to some degree in New York and Connecticut.

The issue on the table with Massachusetts' version is the insurance surcharge for first time offenders. I can understand where they're coming from with this, though I don't really know why it's there. It should be enough to fine the person, but if they're being hit from both ends, it will likely get their attention better. I'm not sure if that part of the bill will make it through the senate, though.

The other issue that I've seen come up in a good conversation I had with some of my buddies is: should it be enacted at all? Doesn't it infringe on our freedoms? Well, that's where you have to realize that this bill is going to infringe upon a privilege. A right should not be changed by the government, but there's no such thing as the right to operate a motor vehicle. You need to take a test and be certified to operate legally. There are certain restrictions that are placed on motorists, including speed limits and seat-belt laws, that are designed for safety. Why, then, wouldn't it make sense that a law is enacted that adds on to safety? I think it makes complete sense, but my buddies in Massachusetts might just be in shock.

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