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The Daily Tar Heel

Bad reception for ban: Don't put brakes on cell phone use while driving

Legislators should not pass a bill that would prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.

The bill would penalize cell phone usage while driving with a $100 fine unless the device is hands-free or the driver is in an emergency situation.

Proponents of the bill argue that drivers are especially distracted when their minds are focused on a phone conversation and their hands are holding cell phones.

States including New York and New Jersey have similar laws as the one the N.C. General Assembly is considering.

But North Carolina should not go down that road. The ban would lack proper enforcement and is inappropriate for responsible adult drivers.

The ban would hardly eliminate driver diversions. There are plenty of ways a driver can be distracted besides cell phone use.

Global Positioning System devices for example give drivers visual and auditory driving directions. They talk to drivers and often prompt drivers to look at their interactive screens and press buttons.

Much like a cell phone.

Drivers adjust mirrors apply makeup and even shave while controlling vehicles — yet none of these practices are banned.

New drivers younger than 18 and school bus drivers are already prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

But not all drivers are teenagers nor are they all driving buses full of rowdy children.

Drivers and their passengers take risks whenever they get behind the wheel.

Unless the General Assembly plans to ban everything short of the 10-and-2 position this law will not do much to prevent traffic accidents.

Talking on a cell phone might not be the safest activity to engage in while driving but it is often expedient or necessary.

Moreover it's ubiquitous.

As such any law that bans cell phone use while driving will not serve drivers well much less be enforced effectively.

N.C. lawmakers should drop their calls for such a ban.

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