Friday, September 5, 2008

How a cell phone ban is different from drunk driving

I argued in a previous article that a cell phone ban was bad legislation because it wouldn't do anything that the Highway Traffic Act and property rights doesn't already do. Or if they don't already deal with the issue of distracted driving they are broken and need fixing, not another separate law to deal with the hole.

I also anticipated that such an argument could easily be applied to drunk driving. While I would be interested in hearing the case made, I don't endorse this argument at this time.

One reason that I am more against the cell ban than drunk driving is the nature of detection. It is very difficult to detect a drunk driver by merely watching the body in the driver's seat. It is usually necessary to observe the irregular driving behavior to suspect drunk driving.

Cell driving is different. This can be detected by observing the driver, separate from driving behavior. Irregular driving is not necessary to detect cell driving. That is to say, those who have been cell driving since the first cell phone, who have decades of experience, and who have never had a single incident, can be charged for doing what they have found a way to manage perfectly.

Conversely, those that have learned to drive drunk perfectly without showing irregular behavior will rouse no suspicion from passing authorities.

The tools of governance should be only as fine as are needed to create a free and prosperous society. Laws should be coarse and inspired, abstract and prophetic. Writing law is an art. It is the legislators job to carefully craft a compromise between the mutually exclusive ends of rights and responsibilities.

A legislator spending time writing into law the difference between driver distraction of a cell phone and a radio, is a waste of everybody's time, resources and freedom.

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