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Hang Up on Cell Phone Legislation Libertarians Say

3/20/01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tim O'Brien
(313) 562-5778
(248) 591-3733

DEARBORN. "This new proposal to give motorists a second ticket for being on the phone while committing a driving infraction reminds me of that great, old line by Yogi Berra," said Libertarian Party of Michigan chair Stacy Van Oast, "It's deja vu all over again!"

According to sponsor Bruce Patterson (R-Canton), House Bill 4158 would impose a secondary $25 fine and one point on the record of any driver whose use of a cell phone "causes" him or her to commit a traffic violation.

"Obviously," Van Oast continued, "it's impossible to prove -- or, more to the point for accused motorists, disprove -- what 'caused' a traffic offense. So, if this bill passes," she asked, "how long will it be before the legislature is back wanting to simply make cell phone use while driving a 'primary' offense?

"Remember when the seat belt bill was sold to a wary public on the promise that the ticket would only be written if the motorist was stopped for having committed some other violation and also found not to be 'buckled up'? It took barely a decade for the nanny-state politicians to break their promise and make 'failure to wear a seat belt' a primary offense.

"The biggest difference between the seat belt rule and this new cell phone proposal is that they aren't even bothering to lie about their long-term agenda," she added. "So, instead of ten years it will probably be more like one or two before they want to outright prohibit motorists from enjoying the convenience and efficiency of cell phone technology."

She said the LPM will urge its nearly 2,000 members to contact their legislators and oppose HB 4158.

"We've seen this trick before," Van Oast concluded. "And in the words of another great phrase maker: We don't get fooled again!"

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