State Sen. Chuck Wiger wants to ban cell phone chat in cars

Categories: Politics
Chuck Wiger wants you to hang up and drive.
It's already illegal in Minnesota to drive and access the web or text using your smart phone. If state Sen. Chuck Wigel has his druthers, it's going to be against the law to talk on a cell phone and drive, too -- even if you're using a hands-free device.

The Maplewood Democrat introduced legislation Jan. 7 banning cell phone use while driving. If it were to pass, the bill would create the first law of its kind in the country.

It says:

No person may operate a motor vehicle while communicating over, or otherwise operating, a cellular or wireless telephone, whether handheld or hands free, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.

The national Governor's Highway Safety Association reports that eight states prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. But none ban both handheld and hands-free use.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.

The law would make exceptions when a driver wants to report an accident, a medical emergency, or crime. Emergency vehicle drivers would also be exempt. But the rest of us ought to pull over if we want to talk, he says.

The chances of drivers getting into an accident shoot up 300 percent if they're distracted by things like cell phone use, Wiger says. Still, it's hard to imagine every Minnesotan having to hang up and drive.

Read the bill here. It's been submitted to the Senate Transportation Committee.

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Today I was driving while peeling a banana. then I ate it. all the while driving a car... and it was much more distracting that talking on a phone... then why isn't this banned too, just like talking on a phone is not allowed?


Absolutely moronic! People are often most productive in their car, using their cell phone. What’s next? Are they going to outlaw eating, drinking, and speaking to another vehicle occupant? How about kids? Kids are probably the biggest distraction possible for a driver. How about we mandate muzzles and hand and foot restraints for children riding in a vehicle? The stupidity of that last proposal pales in comparison to the stupidity of banning cell phone use for those millions of individuals who talk and drive responsibly every day.


Cell phone use while driving no doubt distracts from proper attention to driving but how far can we go with safety restrictions? At least, when talking on a cell phone, the drivers eyes can remain on the road. How about when using the CD player in the cars? How about playing with the GPS? How about trying to find your favorite radio station? All these things not only divert attention from the road, they also take the drivers eyes away from the road. Sen. Wiger says that even hands-free devices should be outlawed. Wow! Maybe we should restrict front seat passengers too, lest their conversation become distracting; maybe put the driver into a sealed capsule so he can't do anything but drive. There's no doubt that cell phones and driving are not a good combination, but how far are we willing to go with restrictions?

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