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HE SAID: Since we can't enforce stupid fines ...

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
January 13th, 2010

The other day I found myself in a rather heated debate over the new law that prohibits people from using a cell phone while driving. The individual I was discussing this issue with was adamant that it was one more stupid law and another attempt by the government to control the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

I do not agree that this is an attempt at control by the government, nor do I consider this a stupid law. This is law structured for the sole purpose of safety, the law itself makes sense, what is stupid is that we need this law in the first place.

Studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving slows the driver’s reaction time by 18 per cent, cell phone use increases the risk of rear-end collisions twofold, it reduces visual field attention and increases the probability of missing red lights, and it leads to greater decrements in driving performance than a blood-alcohol level of 80 mg/100ml (the maximum legal level).

In my opinion, any person who believes they are able to safely maneuver a vehicle while texting, emailing or dialing a phone, not only has a diminished mental capacity, but they are also a menace to anyone else in their path. I think of this as being the equivalent of walking blindfolded down the street randomly shooting a gun – you may not actually hit anyone at first, but do it enough times and someone will eventually get hurt.

The sad truth is that we need to protect the dim from hurting themselves or others.

Companies and businesses have known this for a long time and have even provided us with such words of wisdom as, “Warning: May contain nuts” … on a package of peanuts and, “Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage” … on a portable stroller. While these may sound ridiculous, I have to believe that there is a reason why these companies feel the need to provide these warnings – namely that someone, somewhere actually needed them.

Just like companies and business, the government has had to make many laws to protect the innocent from the dense. We have drunk driving laws which, in my opinion, should carry the minimum charge of attempted murder, a law that prevents smoking in a vehicle with anyone under 16 years old, and the new cell phone law, which is just the newest.

While these laws may seem stupid to some, that we need them at all, says a lot about our society…

But, for me, it says even more about those who argue against them.

Categories: Op/Ed

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