I read an interesting article that discusses the serious risks of using a cell phone while driving. But the article also brings up the issue about how we go about enforcing laws on cell phone use while driving. No one can deny that cell phone use is a significant cause of injuries and even death from traffic accidents and car wrecks. Catching the perpetrators is another matter.
“In California, among other states, spotting a driver tapping on a cellphone isn’t enough to issue a ticket: Law enforcement officers must get visual confirmation that the driver is exchanging a digital message on his or her phone — all while they’re driving beside the suspected offender in a marked patrol car….” Read full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/distracted-driving_n_3820530.html
My opinion is that such a law is unworkable and ineffective. Rarely would a police officer observe an actual exchange on a cell phone. But it is a safe assumption that anyone holding a cell phone face up, tapping on it or working its features, is in fact using the cell phone. Why do they have to be exchanging a message at the time? Isn’t the driver just as distracted by the mere fact that the cell phone is diverting the driver’s attention from the roadway? Of course.
My solution is a simple one. To all you state legislators out there, stop drafting unworkable laws and statutes just to make it look like to are attacking the problem. As for cell phone use, there should be laws passed that anyone “handling” a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle is in violation and should be issued a ticket. I would define the term “handling” as physically taking control of the device and operating, or appearing to operate, any of its functions. It should not matter whether there is any exchange of data at the time of the violation. The distraction occurs once the driver handles a cell phone while operating a car.