On June 6 Havre City Council voted on Ordinance 879, which bans electronic communications devices from being used while driving.
During the comment period, one council member stated that she still did not know which way she would ultimately vote. Councilwoman Tretheway sagely identified a state statute that is already on the books. The state statute is currently used by our local law enforcement to ticket these very offenders, making this new ordinance redundant. An impassioned plea from a fellow Havre citizen may have tipped the scales in favor of passage. He, and I am paraphrasing, said that if the measure did not pass and an accident occurred it would be blood on the hands of these council members for not passing this ordinance. The discussion turned from personal responsibility to protecting the safety of the population at large. It was a pivotal moment. In the end the ordinance passed 5-3.
Councilmen Allen "Woody" Woodwick said in a June 7 Havre Daily News story, "If we can get some of the accidents prevented, then that’s the ultimate goal."
It seems that the rationale for passage was to decrease distracted driving so that not only would the perpetrators have fewer accidents themselves, but also they would cause fewer accidents and deaths to those around them. This is puzzling logic, since insurance industry studies have concluded that bans do not reduce accidents.
In the spirit of this new noblesse oblige exhibited by the council, will they be passing ordinances banning guns and medical marijuana within city limits too? These activities after all also have the potential to harm if not seriously injure the innocent among us as well.