Focus Point - Car PhonesCommentary by Pete du Pont
July 13, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. New York is making it illegal for people to use car phones in the state. Is this an invasion of personal freedom?
Well, some argue that a car is an extension of the home, which traditionally is a man's castle -- woman's too. But houses don't run over people or cause 30-house pile-ups on the interstate, at least, unless they're being moved on the back of a flatbed.
Certainly the vast amounts of anecdotal evidence suggests New York's doing the right thing, because car phoning fails to pass the liberty test: do what you want to as long as you don't hurt other people.
Of course, there's huge weasel room built into the New York law: it only bans hand-held phones. Headsets will presumably be ok, meaning people can have both hands on the wheel -- and their minds still a thousand miles away.
And of course, the law doesn't address another threat to driver safety: the application of makeup at 40 miles an hour. But it's a start.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.