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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Cellphone ban: Are drivers or phones the problem?

Want safer roads? An in-car breathalyzer is better than cellphone ban

The Times needs to tone down the cellphone-ban rhetoric [“Washington’s timid cellphone ban,” Opinion, column, July 2]. This problem is not the scourge you make it out to be.

If The Times was so concerned with safer roads, it would argue for interlock breathalyzer devices mandatory to license vehicles. With no exceptions, drinking and driving would cease overnight. Or better yet, let’s get rid of vehicles, and ride the light rail. That way we won’t have to subsidize it for decades.

This cellphone bill is ironic in a state that exports death machines daily. Maybe we should make sure the pilots who fly the drones who bomb the women and children are using their hands-free device, too.

— Jon Weerts, Kent

Bad drivers, not cellphones, are the problem

Editorial writer Joni Balter advocates a complete statewide ban on cellphone usage while on public highways. She supports legislation that would prohibit all of the rural citizens working east of the Cascades use of a cellphone unless they have a hands-free device in the drivers ear.

I know personally dozens of people that can drive defensively using legal communication devices — not hands free –in their vehicles and are much safer drivers per mile than your average aggressive commuter late for work without a cellphone. These drivers have driven for years and millions of miles in trucks moving at highway speeds using citizens band radios. Do you advocate a ban on those, too?

Why not go a step further and take the cupholders out of the cars and make it illegal to install a CD player? Why not make it illegal for a driver under 21 to have passengers? Most accidents are caused by young people driving too fast. That is why insurance rates for male drivers younger than 25 are higher than any other age group.

Your ideas address the symptom but not the cause. It is the poor driving habits of careless drivers that need to be punished harshly. Careless driving is a serious offense and should be enforced to the fullest extent if an accident occurs. We have enough laws. The cellphone itself is not the problem.

— Tim Anderegg, Manchester

Why is the cellphone ban so hard for lawmakers?

I moved here not too long ago from Colorado, where they can pull you over for talking or using a cellphone. I see a lot of letters to the editor about not being able to enforce the cellphone ban here.

Perhaps it would help if the state would remove the signs to call 1-800-HERO if drivers see someone using the commuter lane while riding solo.

Lets face it: Lawmakers need to get a wake-up call. If they can’t resolve a small issue like this one, then it’s no wonder our state government is so messed up.

— Simon Gunnoe, Federal Way

Comments | More in Public safety, Transportation, Washington Legislature

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