Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pet Peeves – Simple Offense Real Punishment

I was just reading an article in the Houston Chronicle about how some Texas legislators are going to attempt to pass legislation that regulates when/how cell phones and other mobile devices can be used in a car.  I will say right now, I think this is a good idea.  They also plan to address things like reading a book and putting on make up.  I agree again that this should be high priority legislation.

What makes me sad, and is a big pet peeve of mine, is that even if these laws are somehow miraculously passed they won’t have decent enough punishments to deter people from the acts.  Enforcement on things like this is just to hard.  I don’t want to have the police burdened with monitoring cell phone usage, just does not make sense.

Instead, I think we need very strict punishments based on the outcome of choosing the wrong action.  If you get into an accident while using your phone or applying makeup you should have to pay a hefty fine and surrender your license for a period of time.  For sake of example lets say the fine is equal to the total amount of damages from the accident.  If you knew that on top of having your insurance go up, your car wrecked that you were going to have to fork over an additional $6000.00 would that make you less likely to talk and drive?  Tack on a real (no work exception) 6 months license suspension on top to make sure the point gets across.  I say the second time you cause an accident, you lose your license permanently.

Just seems crazy to me that we pass these rules, and rely on an over burdened police force to try and enforce them.  I don’t know what the real punishments should be, but I know that if I can talk on the phone and occasionally have to pay a 100 fine that I am likely to not be deterred.  I want to see punishments that actually hurt the people who break the laws.  Don’t even get me started on drunk drivers (1 strike is plenty for them).

I don’t believe we should ban in car phone use, but hands free voice and dialing functionality should be a requirement.

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