The government is like wild water, always seeking to fill every crack and crevice...lead even a slice of life untouched by government mandate, and a bureaucrat will find it, and try to fill the space with regulation.
In this case, it is lifetime bureaucrat Ray LaHood, Obama's secretary of transportation. It's not good enough that many states are now banning hand-held cellphone use while driving, lord no. LaHood wants to ban all cellphone use while driving, despite evidence that cellphone usage does not have a statistically significant causation of automobile accidents:
Nationwide, car crashes have fallen dramatically while the use of cell phones has jumped dramatically (from 195 billion minutes in June 2000 to 1.1 trillion in June 2008). Last month the Highway Loss Data Institute issued a report comparing collision rates for states before and after they passed bans on drivers using handheld cell phones. The bans showed no effect on the number, frequency, or severity of collisions.
“The surprising data,” Lahood wrote, “encourages people to wrongly conclude that talking on cell phones while driving is not dangerous! Nothing could be further from the truth. Just ask Jennifer Smith....” Smith, of course, is another grieving mother. He went on to equate cell phone driving with drunk driving. “If anything, the study suggests we need even tougher protections.”
How so? LaHood had an explanation for why the state bans had not reduced collisions. In states that banned handheld cell phone use, he said, drivers probably began using hands-free cell phones. And “research tells us hands-free is just as dangerous as handheld.”
Thus the call to action escalates, and the needed prohibitions grow more comprehensive. A ban on handheld cell phone use will be insufficient if we are to cure the epidemic. Only a total ban on drivers’ use of cell phones, handheld and hands-free, will bring progress.
And bring more power to LaHood, who will have the ability to withhold funding (he does get $70 billion annually; I guess that might inflate even Ghandi's sense of self-importance) from states who do not comply with his edicts.
And the rest of us are treated like children, with Big Government sitting in the cars next to us, making sure are seat belts are fastened, checking that we haven't had any Penne a la Vodka for dinner, and that we don't kill time on the long drive home by talking to friends and family, even with both hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road.
With the removal of all risk comes the removal of all freedom. Lahood and Obama know this, and act on it. We should too...