Earlier this week, Governor Chet Culver signed an expansionary “nanny state” prohibition of texting while driving a vehicle. The prohibition goes into effect July, 1, 2010 with fines being enforced a year from that date. This law is evidence of government’s belief in the fallacy it can and should regulate human behavior.
Texting is dangerous, causes distractions while driving, and prevents drivers from paying attention to safely traveling from one place to another. However, a multitude of other distractions are also dangerous and just as likely to cause accidents. Individuals understand if they cause damage to someone else, they will be punished and serve justice for their crime. Do we not already have laws and statues on the books in Iowa where this type of negligence is punished to prevent individuals from engaging in risky behaviors? Shouldn’t the law punish those who actually cause or inflict harm on others instead of prohibiting what people might do?
Few have discussed the unseen effects the prohibition will have on the behavior of motorists. Given the history of prohibition in this country (i.e. 18th Amendment), the lack of attention or analysis of the unintended consequences law will manifest is astounding. Evidently, the legislature is a bit ignorant to believe any ban will stop people from using their phones while they drive. Here’s a news flash for the Iowa Legislature: people will still text while they drive.
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