Advertisement

Letter to the editor: Cell phones threaten driving safety


Photo by Jim Legans, Jr
By Jason B. Lassner

Two recent events suggest that we Iowans are serious about addressing the scourge of cell phone use while driving: a 12-0 vote by the Iowa Senate Transportation committee in favor of making it a primary offense and Governor Branstad’s support for requiring the use of hands-free technology.

I don’t believe that we are serious.

The threat of a $30 fine — less than half the cost of a speeding ticket — will not change our behavior. And while a hands-free law might seem like a big step in the right direction it will not make our roads any safer.

Cell phones not only take our hands off the wheel and our eyes off the road, they draw our minds away from driving. Researcher David Strayer of the University of Utah has demonstrated that drivers remain distracted for up to 27 seconds after issuing voice commands to their phones.

While the truth about cell phone use while driving is no surprise, accepting the appearance of progress in place of real change would be a tragedy.

If we are we serious about making our roads safer then we must support a ban on all cell phone use by anyone driving a motor vehicle in Iowa.

If that sounds like an infringement on individual rights, consider that prohibitions against open containers and drunk driving as well as mandatory seat belt use may have raised similar concerns. The vast majority of us now see those laws as reflections of the basic common sense that we Iowans take pride in.

Although driving a motor vehicle is a deceptively complex task that demands full attention, no state has outlawed cell phone use while driving. One state must be the first to demonstrate bold and courageous leadership on this issue.

I ask my fellow citizens in the Hawkeye state, “Why not us?”

It’s basic common sense.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 216.


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

The Iowa City Human Rights Commission needs you!

Apply Today

@ICHumanRights »

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.

Coralville Public Library Online Summer Reading Programs

For ages 0-99+