Safer Streets for Sioux Falls wants a complete ban on the use of electronic devices while driving in Sioux Falls. KELO-AM’s Greg Belfrage reminds his listeners that research shows using phones is a major distraction in the car, but he says a phone ban won’t work any better than the texting ban. Sioux Falls blogger Scott Ehrisman agrees that a phone ban is unnecessary and unenforceable. Belfrage and Ehrisman would prefer that we focus on education to tell drivers to put their phones down and drive.
I am pleased to see that the conservative Belfrage and the independently contrarian Ehrisman can agree with me that fiddling with your phone is irresponsible behavior behind the wheel. I disagree that a ban is unenforceable: if I can bike through Aberdeen and spot drivers with their phones in their hands or with that telling, intent stare at their laps, so can the police.
Sioux Falls City Councillor Greg Jamison, alas, legislates from the fallacy of personal specialness and a poor understanding of the rules of the road:
While Sioux Falls City Council member Greg Jamison agrees with the ordinance against texting and driving, he’s not in favor of the advocacy group’s newest proposal.
Jamison said, “You’ve got the government in your car telling you how to do everything, and I think some of us would just as soon have a little privacy and be left alone a little bit.”
Jamison says he, along with many other people are able to talk on the phone and drive safely every day without causing any harm [Caiti Blaise, “Cell Phone Use While Driving Could Be Banned in Sioux Falls,” KDLT-TV, 2015.05.23].
Councillor Jamison sounds like the folks who insist they can multitask, when multitasking is actually a myth, not to mention inefficient and ineffective.
Jamison also incorrectly invokes privacy. Drivers have a significantly reduced expectation of privacy, as evidenced by our countenance of sobriety checkpoints, in which police detain and search drivers without warrants, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. There may be other ways to defend selfish behavior behind the wheel, but privacy isn’t a valid argument. If you want a private conversation on your phone, Councillor Jamison, you need to do that at home, while not in control of a few thousands pounds of hurtling metal death. Put down your phone and drive.