FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2009
Mayor Finkbeiner submits ordinance to prohibit text messaging while driving.
Today at 1:00 p.m., Mayor Finkbeiner and City Officials will hold a press conference to announce an ordinance prohibiting the use of text messaging devices while operating a vehicle. The press conference will be held on the 22nd Fl. Conference Room of Government Center.
The media is respectfully asked to attend.
This is insane!
No - it's not because it's a really, really, really bad idea to try to read and send text messages while driving ... it is!
But there is already an ordinance on the books that deals with such circumstances. In fact, it's a catch-all so that all sorts of things you shouldn't do while driving are against the law without having to name each and every one. It's Toledo Municipal Code 333.02
333.02. Reckless operation on streets, public or private property.
(a) No person shall operate a vehicle on any street or highway without due regard for the safety of persons or property.
(b) No person shall operate a vehicle on any public or private property other than streets or highways, without due regard for the safety of persons or property.
And if that's not enough, there's also a similar law for the entire state in the Ohio Revised Code, under which law enforcement office can cite:
4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property
So why do we need this law? And if we need a law to ban this particular action, where are the laws to ban other equally dangerous actions like: eating while driving, lighting a cigarette while driving, putting on make-up while driving, shaving while driving, changing your clothes while driving (yes, I've seen that before!), holding your dog in your lap while driving, etc...
Before creating new ways to make criminals out of people, let's just enforce the laws we have.
But maybe, not everyone who texts while driving is dangerous. Could that be?
Yes, it is possible.
The problem is not that texting is causing too many accidents because, as I've demonstrated, if you're not paying attention to your driving that's already a crime and you can be penalized.
The problem is an issue of prior restraint. We don't want you to *possibly* cause an accident, so we'll censure your behavior ahead of time. We'll make the action a crime, rather than punish for the outcome. We'll control what you do and how you do it so you don't maybe do something that could be a problem.
This is the same logic used by liberals in just about every other circumstance where they seek to tell you how to live and what to do - despite your ability to make such decisions on your own. Whether it's soda pop taxes, smoking bans, seat belt laws, helmet laws, and on and on and on ... they'll tell us it's for our own good - as if some politician knows what is or is not best for you and your family, even when they've never met you.
Or they'll say that government picks up the cost for *some* individuals when they are hurt as a result of such behavior. Well, the answer to is to not let such individuals off the hook when it comes to paying for the consequences of their actions. If you're hurt more severely because you didn't wear a seat belt or a helmet, you'll get your treatment for your injuries, but you'll be responsible for paying - no more relying upon government (taxpayers, that is) for payment because you don't have a job - you or your family will just be in debt for the rest of your life.
A few well-publicized incidences of just such consequences and people will make better choices on their own. Most all people who know they'll be responsible for the consequences of their actions make better decisions. And those who don't make the good decision quickly learn not to make the same mistake twice when they are held responsible for the outcome.
This is a very steep slippery slope and, as I've said before, I think we're already at the bottom.
This is about control and behavior modification - and it's about time citizens told the government (and all the special interest groups such legislation caters to) to butt out! We don't need government to create new laws that turn us into criminals because of our actions, especially when such actions are not hurting anyone.
And doesn't Carty have anything better to do? You know, like an $8 million budget deficit????? Or is he trying to emulate Nero, fiddling while Toledo burns?