Oregon has a law against talking on a cell phone while driving. Because the law has been widely ignored, the legislature raised the standard fine to $160 as of Jan. 1, up $50. And the maximum will be $500. The fine could be a thousand dollars and the law would still be ignored by many people for the same reason it’s being ignored now.
The law has been widely flouted because it’s an unreasonable law that cannot possibly be fairly or even uniformly enforced. For one thing it applies only to hand-held phones, while using your Bluetooth connection or one of those things clipped to your ear is perfectly fine. How does that make any kind of sense?
It is no doubt true that talking on the phone leads to distracted driving. But so does talking to your passenger about something important. So does listening to the radio, especially when you’re trying to find a station on a long drive through the wilds of this state. So does trying to find a CD in the glove compartment when the search for a station fails. So does thinking about your boss at work, or your love life, or a thousand other things that cause you some level of either distress or delight.
And you might become totally oblivious to traffic if you become agitated about the gradual disappearance of liberty, and the degree to which the majority of citizens don’t seem to care about the loss. They see some guy cutting them off on the road while he’s holding something to his ear, and they demand a law. Or bigger fines.
Most politicians are only too eager to oblige. Anything that strengthens the hand of the state and increases revenue is OK with them. (hh)