We've just come off one of the biggest nanny-state sessions of the General Assembly in recent memory (buckle up!), and the Indianapolis Star clearly wants more:
Police throughout Indiana are likely cheering the General Assembly's passage of a bill that requires back-seat passengers and pickup and SUV drivers to buckle up their seat belts.It's one of those laws designed to protect citizens from themselves, and it won't be the last. A ban on using cell phones while driving should be next.
I don't want to be a knee-jerk libertarian who decries every safety measure as an intrusion on personal liberty, but there is an obvious problem with the "ban the cell phone" movement, which even the Star editorial acknowledges:
"Driver inattention is the No. 1 cause of all crashes," Indiana State Police 1st Sgt. Brian Olehy said. That includes everything from eating, drinking, brushing one's hair and shaving to using a cell phone. "I stopped a young woman who was speeding while talking on the phone and she had her kids with her in the back seat," Olehy said. "I gave her a good lecture."
There's no logical reason to ban cell phones but not all the other distractions (including two big ones not mentioned, fiddling with the radio and talking to passengers in the car) except that cell phones are an obvious target. Smoking while driving, by the way, has been banned in New Delhi, India, for safety reasons rather than health ones, and legislatures in Vermont, Maryland and Connecticut are considering banning a number of activities while driving, including smoking and -- drum roll, please! -- playing an instrument.