GOVERNMENT

Opinion: Crash changed my mind on cellphones and driving

Feb 11, 2020, 4:16 PM | Updated: 4:17 pm
distracted driving...

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

SALT LAKE CITY — I was undecided about a bill to prohibit the use of cellphones while driving. The bill is up for a vote in the state legislature. As a conservative, I draw the line about the government reaching into my car and limiting what I can and can’t do while I drive.

But that changed on my walk to work today.

Leaving my residence, I witnessed a driver holding up a cellphone.

I swear, not three seconds later — BOOM!

The distracted driver had run a red light and T-boned another car. A city bus had to swerve to miss the collision.

The crash was a lot louder than any car collision I’ve ever heard on TV. Both cars rolled off the street and stopped.

The drivers were shaken up but seemed OK.

Police and emergency vehicles rolled up.

Lawmakers’ bill

Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman Moss of Holladay and Republican Sen. Don Ipson of St. George are sponsoring a bill  (HB101) that would allow police to cite a driver using a cellphone unless the driver is talking on a hands-free device.

Talking and texting on cellphones while driving has been illegal in Utah for years. But police can’t pull a driver over for cellphone chatting unless another moving violation (other than speeding) has been committed at the same time. For example, a driver talking on a phone makes an illegal U-turn. Only then, can the cop hit the lights and sirens and issue two tickets: one for the U-turn, the other for yakking on a cellphone while riding two tons of steel, glass and rubber down the highway.

Texting while driving is a primary offense. Drivers under 18 are banned from cellphone use.

A conservative’s view

Conservatives like me believe in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and strongly oppose government from infringing on personal freedoms. But it is only right for law enforcement to be involved if those rights are infringed upon by another, such as a distracted driver with a phone, which is what I witnessed on my walk to work.

The law-abiding driver who had his car caved in could have been seriously injured or even killed. The government is mandated to try to prevent this stupidity from happening — and not make it conditional on a secondary offense, which it is now. That’s gotta change.

The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee passed Moss and Ipson’s bill last week with a favorable recommendation of 6-2, sending it to the House floor to decide its fate.

The last time I met with Rep. Moss I told her I was still unclear about my position on her bill, but after what I saw this morning, I’m hoping it becomes law — before another innocent person is needlessly harmed or killed.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
6 days ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
7 days ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
7 days ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
7 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
7 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Opinion: Crash changed my mind on cellphones and driving