The foibles of traffic regulation

On Jan. 1, 2015, San Antonio will begin enforcing a new cell phone ban for drivers. The ban is, by many accounts, common sense and will catch the city up with progressive California and New York bans. It also happens to be a terrible idea.
To begin, let it be said that I do not condone texting or talking on the phone while driving. It is undoubtedly a distraction, the consequences of which are seen everywhere. Any time I see poor driving—swerving, driving 15 miles an hour on the highway, crashing into cement barricades—it is doubtless because the driver is focused on a handheld device and not the primary task of driving. It goes without saying that the tragedies we see in the news where kids or families are killed in accidents due to distracted driving are horrible, and we should do all we can to eliminate such senseless catastrophes.

This ban is not the answer.

There are five key reasons why this City Council ordinance is not only not good, but potentially harmful:

1. The law is redundant.

2. The law is inconclusive.

3. It throws out the baby with the bathwater.

4. It doesn’t solve the problem and might make it worse.

5. The law doesn’t make us good, even when we’re following it.

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