Law displays lack of common sense
Thanks to a law that goes into effect Sept. 1, anyone caught operating a cell phone without a hands-free attachment when driving in a school zone will be fined.
This rule also includes fines for passenger bus operators who have a minor onboard, regardless of location. Exceptions include calls made when a car is stopped or calls that take place inside emergency vehicles.
In addition, the law contains a section on affirmative defense to prosecution. An affirmative defense is when a defendant attempts to avoid penalty by providing justification for misconduct. In this case, leeway will be given to medical emergencies and calls to fire and police departments.
This rule violates the innermost sanctum of drivers’ activities inside the car and praises the use of cell phone’s dorkiest accessory. But that’s not the problem. The problem is simply that the law exists.
Because of a lack of common sense, our state government feels it must protect students from drivers.
These people are either too stupid or inconsiderate to realize that they should get off their phones while traveling through these areas. A child crossing the road to get to school should feel safe, not terrified.
The despairing part of this law is its implications on our society.
Possibly injuring or killing a child is not enough to make people put down their phones until they have left the school zone. The risk of being fined, however, provides enough incentive.
Our inability to act responsibly unless there are financial consequences is embarrassing. The public is sure to complain about this law, despite an invalid argument.
To avoid the ticket, people will just have to put their phones on speaker when traveling through a school zone. Better yet, drivers can postpone the call until they are away from pedestrians.
The only saving grace of this law is that it provides Texans with an opportunity for redemption. When people are on the road, driving should be the most important, if not the only, activity taking place.
If we continue to act ignorant, the government will create more laws that eat our freedom and show our stupidity.
Travis Hensley is a philosophy senior and may be reached at [email protected]