I'm thinking about starting a movement to decriminalize drunk driving, reinstate smoking in all public places, and repeal laws that require parents to use child safety seats for their toddlers in the car.
After all, if it's still legal in most states to operate a motor vehicle while talking on a cell phone, shouldn't we have a "fair is fair" policy when it comes to allowing people to do stupid things that endanger the health and wellbeing of others? Maybe we could have a cap and trade system for jackass behavior. For example, if you don't talk on the phone while you drive, then you'd have the choice of either driving drunk or smoking in hospitals, day care centers and other public spaces.
With all of the public concern and ongoing scientific debate over the possibly harmful effects of cell phone radiation, why isn't there more public outrage over the documented public safety hazard of cell use while driving? Even here at The Daily Green, I've counted at least a dozen recent articles about the yet-to-be-proven harmful effects of cell phone radiation, but not a single article (up until now) about the more than 2,500 deaths and 330,000+ injuries every year in the U.S. attributed to the use of cell phones will driving (according to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis).
Could it be that it's easier for people to get up in arms about forcing cell phone companies to take responsibility for producing radiation-free devices than it is for us to take responsibility for our own actions and hang up the *@^ cell phone when we drive?
Numerous studies have shown that cell phone use (including hands-free phones) seriously impede our ability to drive safely. Several studies, including a 2006 study by the University of Utah, show that use of both hand held and hands free cell phones while driving is considerably more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, making it roughly four times more likely that we'll be involved in a crash. It's also widely accepted that the role cell phones play in causing auto accidents is grossly under reported. Up until just recently, police in most states were not even required to ask about or investigate cell phone usage in connection with auto accidents.
And yet, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, only six states totally prohibit the use of cell phones while driving, and that's only for hand-held phones (no state currently prohibits the use of hands-free phones). Ironically, six other states have "preemption laws," prohibiting local jurisdictions from enacting their own restrictions limiting cell phone use by drivers. Man, my cap and trade system for jackasses is looking more reasonable all the time.
My disdain for cell phones and the negative impact they have on the quality of our lives is a matter of public record, and I am rapidly becoming the last American to live cell-phone free (and very happily and successfully so, I might add). No, I don't expect others to join my boycott of the cellulite lifestyle, but I hope that we'll pull our heads out of the sand and pass laws to prohibit all cell phone use while driving. The nonprofit National Safety Council is fighting to do just that, and I hope you'll support their efforts.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.