PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Don’t tread on my mobile
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – On the first of three readings Jackson Town Council has passed an ordinance that will restrict our use of mobile phones while driving. I urge the Council to reconsider.
Cell phones are incredibly important to our quality of life. They have created a burst of productivity that has made our economy much more efficient. Being able to conduct business while driving is precisely the purpose of cell phones. Restricting their use will put a major drag on our economy while only providing a modest increase in safety.
Singling out mobile phones for censure is trendy, but drivers suffer many distractions while driving, and mobile phones are by no means the most troublesome. A study has shown that having children as passengers in the car is 12 times more distracting to the driver than talking on a cell phone. Why doesn’t the Council protect us by banning children from cars?
The Town Council is misunderstanding its mandate. The legislative process demands that they make the finding that each law they pass protects the general welfare, but that doesn’t mean they can or should attempt to pass myriad laws to protect us from every possible danger. It’s vital that all levels of government are judicious in their use of police power. The wish to do good can cause government to overstep its bounds with unfortunate unintended consequences.
While it may be true that the Council has the ability to protect us from some dangers, they also have the dangerous ability to restrict our freedoms. We are much better off living free in a slightly riskier world than coddled from cradle to grave in a protective government cocoon that stifles freedom and innovation.
Government needs to keep its eye on the ball and not get distracted by sending the police out to enforce the newest fashionable nanny state interventions. In other words, keep the water running, the sewer draining, fill the potholes, keep the police and fire departments open, but please, Town Council, don’t micromanage our mobile phones.