Now that the Havre City Council has decided to reconsider its restriction on drivers using cellphones while driving, I think we should look again at Ward 3 Councilman Rick Dow's column explaining his opposition to the cellphone ordinance (Opinion page, Feb. 2).
Mr. Dow begins his column with an absurd example: an overworked driver going home warms his ears at a stop light and because his lips are shivering, a cop nearby stops him for cellphone use. A really silly, made-up example. First, it's unlikely that a policeman would be so obtuse as to make that mistake. Second, all the policemen I know listen to an explanation, as in Mr. Dow's example, so what's the harm? And anyway, Havre has a good court system.
Give me a break, Mr. Dow. I don't think anyone believes that someone would receive a ticket if they call on their cellphone in a genuine emergency. Or couldn't you write the ordinance so that calls made in emergency situations, such as to law enforcement or the hospital, are exempt from prosecution. If the ordinance exempts police and official emergency personnel, surely you could compose an ordinance that would exempt all citizens during emergencies.
Mr. Dow's second — and only additional argument — is that the ordinance would be redundant because we already hold distracted drivers accountable. Really, Mr. Dow! Many laws overlap each other without being unimportant additions to law enforcement. The point of the ordinance is to call attention to a driving habit that has been repeatedly shown by statistical studies to greatly increase danger to passengers, other cars and drivers as well — to say nothing of increasing all of our car insurance rates, as has already occurred.
Isn't this ordinance like the seat belt law? Some drivers think it interferes with their rights, some don't observe it, but it has been clearly shown to be a genuine lifesaver.
I call on the reasonable heads on City Council. Ignore Mr. Dow's foolish ranting, which he appears to think passes for patriotism. Pass a reasonable version of this ordinance.