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Everything Said Has Been Said Before

There are those within the government - at all levels - that believe they can regulate your lives and what you do during the coarse of the day. Most people didn't complain when they banned smoking in bars and restaurants here in Illinois. At least the ban is not as bad as some other states or communities that have banned smoking even in people's own homes. It doesn't really matter whether you smoke or not, that is not the point of this article. The point I want to make is the gradual increase of government intrusion into our lives.

At the beginning of the year a new law took effect here in Illinois that banned texting on your cellphone while driving. Proponents said that texting created "distracted driving" and can help contribute to car accidents. To that, I ask the lawmakers who thought this was a great idea if they plan on banning small children from riding in cars (because they cry, or throw a hissy fit because they want McDonald's), or the application of make-up (I've been stuck at green lights behind these people), or eating while driving? No? Why not? All these things are distracting to drivers as well and may cause car accidents, but yet we allow them.

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Fresh off the presses at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday was an article discussing IL Rep. Karen May (D - Highland Park) wanting to get a bill through the General Assembly that would ban ALL cellphone usage while driving. She believes the law banning texting is virtually unenforcible because law enforcement can't tell whether someone is using their phone to text or to talk. As a result, she believes her proposal to ban all cellphone usage while driving would solve the problem of distracted driving AND fix a difficult to enforce law.

Is IL Rep. May alone in wanting to ban cellphones? Apparently not if you believe a Harris poll conducted last year that found 80% wanted a texting ban and 60% wanted a total cellphone ban while driving.

After reading both of the above articles, I realized I had heard these arguments and polling somewhere before. A few semesters ago, I did a research paper about the radio industry from it's inception to modern day. While doing the research my paper, I recalled coming across two separate news articles from the NY Times (back when they we're still the "paper of record"):

The article on the left is from 1930. Do the arguments against radios in cars sound a bit familiar to the arguments regarding cell phones? The article on the right is from 1934. Notice the results of the poll conducted in the article - 56% opposed to radios in automobiles. Sure, 63% said they did not have a radio in the car, but if you go back and read the Harris poll article, you will see that of the 60% that felt cellphones should be banned while driving, 80% admitted to using cellphones while driving. History has a way of repeating itself.

We always seem to support those initiatives that don't effect us directly - higher income taxes, more government regulation, banning cigarettes, or banning texting. By the time government does get around to effect your life in some way, it's too late. Precedent has been set. We have to stop government intrusion even when it effects someone other than yourself. Every little loss of liberty willingly given up adds up overtime. By the time we realize what has happened...too late. Stay vigilant.

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Posted in Law Post Date 02/21/2018


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