Saving us from ourselves
There are some problems for which there is no legislative solution.
If all the legislation that was passed to cure what ails us actually worked, there would hardly be any problems left.
But it doesn't. Nonetheless, our elected officials keep adopting more rules and regulations, the latest example being a bill passed by the Illinois House that makes it illegal to talk on a handheld cellphone while driving.
The bill, which was passed in the House by a 64-46 vote, now goes to the Illinois Senate.
It goes without saying that motorists who talk on cellphones while they drive are distracted and pose a safety hazard, both to themselves and others. They should exercise better judgment.
However, distractions come in many forms, using a handheld cellphone while driving being just one. Actually, talking while using a hands-free cellphone is also distracting. So is putting on lipstick, eating a muffin or consuming a drink, girl-watching, or listening to or changing channels on the radio.
That must be why Illinois already has legislation on the books that makes distracted driving a violation of the law.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, this legislation represents another empty-headed, feel-good measure that won't amount to much, except to give police officers another reason to pull people over and hand out expensive citations.
By the way, civil libertarians, minority legislators and liberals frequently complain about police making too many traffic stops for too many reasons. Why do they keep passing legislation giving authorities more reasons to make what is known as a "pretext stop," a stop officially for one reason but unofficially for a very different reason?
It's all part of continually ratcheting up the enforcement of behavior that is common but unwise. Texting while driving is already illegal. So is talking on a cellphone while in a school or construction work zone.
People continue to do both, just as they will continue to talk on cellphones while driving if this legislation becomes law. Maybe there's a legislative non-solution for that, too.