June 20--The Kirkwood City Council on Thursday night advanced an ordinance that would make it illegal for drivers of all ages to text while driving. The bill goes beyond state law, where the texting-while-driving applies only to drivers under 21.
(Parenthetical aside: The Legislature this year passed a bill that would lower the age for a concealed weapons permit to 19. Go figure).
There is some dispute about whether local jurisdictions can supersede state laws, but that's a different editorial.
The point here is this: Why mess around with bans on driving-while-texting and driving-while-chatting on cell phones when there is such an obvious solution available?
The U.S. Department of Transportation has evaluated a variety of devices that can jam cell phone signals in cars. Experts say that making them mandatory -- like seat belts or air bags -- could save a minimum of 5,500 lives and 500,000 injuries each year. An emergency signal might get through, but you'd need to pull off the road to make a call.
The jammers could be made difficult to disable, like odometers. But federal regulators, fearing a backlash from the "I'm an excellent driver, I don't need a nanny state" crowd, are loath to do their jobs. Too bad.
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