When a cell phone goes off in a classroom or at a concert, we are irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. When we are on the road, however, irresponsible cell phone users are more than irritating: They are putting our lives at risk. Many of us have witnessed drivers so distracted by dialing and chatting that they resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes, for example, or nearly running down pedestrians in crosswalks. A number of bills to regulate use of cell phones on the road have been introduced in state legislatures, and the time has come to push for their passage.
Regulation is needed because drivers using phones are seriously impaired and because laws on negligent and reckless driving are not sufficient to punish offenders.
No one can deny that cell phones have caused traffic deaths and injuries. Cell phones were implicated in three fatal accidents in
November 1999 alone. Early in November, two-year-old Morgan
Pena was killed by a driver distracted by his cell phone. Morgan’s mother, Patti Pena, reports that the driver “ran a stop sign at 45 mph, broadsided my vehicle and killed Morgan as she sat in her car seat.” A week later, corrections officer Shannon Smith, who was guarding prisoners by the side of the road, was killed by a woman distracted by a phone call (Besthoff). On Thanksgiving weekend
Source:Diana Hacker (Boston:Bedford/St.Martin
s, 2006). that same month, John and Carole Hall were killed when a Naval
Academy midshipman crashed into their parked car. The driver said in court that when he looked up from