Have you ever been to Chapel Hill, North Carolina? It's a beautiful town - a perfect little paradise in the middle of the Triangle of Central Tar Heel Country. In fact, it IS Tar Heel Country - literally. It's the home of the University of North Carolina. I dreamed of going there, especially after I got a real nice SAT - then I got the application. Nevermind... But, I visited a couple friends there a couple times, and the town was awesome - a perfect mix of Southern Charm with a touch of Bohemia.
Those are the good points. The bad part is, like a lot of college towns, the pro-governemnt liberals have a lot of influence - and the town leaders expand the tight fist they hold over the college to all it's citizens. Well, Chapel Hill went where no other city in the US has gone - they have banned ALL cell phone usage in cars. Yeah, that includes Bluetooth and earpieces as well.... Do svidanya, Bluetooth!
Why did they go this far? Well, much like the argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people, Chapel Hill feels that it's not the distraction of the earpiece or the bluetooth that causes accidents - it's the conversation itself that causes accidents. See, morons CAN get elected to office! Personally, I think I could go to Appellate Court and get this law killed, so I'll try it here in the court of public opinion - and common sense.
First off, we'll dip our toe into the First Amendment. If we have the right to speak publicly, then surely the right to speak privately should not be restricted. Secondly, it restricts the commerce clause by barring people from doing business in a fair manner. Doing business on the phone is a common practice nowadays, and all vendors who happen to work or just BE in Chapel Hill will be unable to work. One of the council members had a suggestion: just pull over for a minute or two, then take the call. Well, it takes more than a few seconds to pull over answer the call, so you just pissed them off by not answering. Secondly, business calls are often more than a minute or two - and they are constant and unpredictable. About 90% of calls are not planned... Enough reasons yet?
But, you can't argue effectively unless you address Chapel Hill's main motivation for the law, so we'll do that now... The argument is that the CONVERSATION is the root problem, so the conversation must be eliminated. While there is no doubt that driving with no conversation is safer, driving and talking on a cell phone is no more dangerous than driving and talking with a passenger, and it may be safer. How? Let's ask a question - when you are talking to a passenger, how often do you look at them when you talk? We try not to, but we've seen lots of people turn 90 degrees for minutes as they drive... There is no passenger in a cell phone call, so it's probably safer. Simply put, if the conversation is the real cause of accidents, then ALL conversation should be banned while driving, not just cell calls... Yeah it's stupid, but just as stupid as the current law.
Yes, we are for safety on the roadways. We don't speed, drive aggressively, and we know texting and driving is dangerous because it is a true distraction. This law goes too far, and it's a perfect example of local government going overboard on regulating it's citizens' rights. We're not super Right Wing libertarian extremists here. We like a little regulation, but when governments turn into Nanny States, we call it as it is... Go Heels!