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'Big Government' Wants to Ban Cell Phone UsePosted Thursday, December 15, 2011, at 3:51 PM
It seems, every time you turn around these days, the federal government issues another edict. Bureaucrats and politicians seem to be in a constant search for opportunities to transfer common sense from the people to the government, including parenting, safety and even our health. Meanwhile, our freedoms are eroding day by day.
This time, "big government cometh" in the form of telling you what you can and cannot do while driving in your own vehicle.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now calling for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, primarily tractor-trailers. This move comes after a fatal accident in Missouri that started when a man driving a pickup truck ran into slow traffic in a construction zone. Authorities say he had sent 11 text messages in just as many minutes, right before the wreck happened. As soon as he ran into traffic, his truck was then rear ended by two school buses. Government cannot seem to pass laws quickly enough. What he was doing was already illegal, as he was under the age of 21.
In addition -- before anyone in the Missouri General Assembly could have a say in this matter -- the edict has come down from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ban truck and bus drivers from using cell phones. Even hands-free devices are included in the ban. This move went largely unnoticed when it was announced in late November.
While I am not ignoring the tragedy that occurred on that August morning, I am questioning the federal government's constant move to dictate every aspect of our lives.
When Missouri lawmakers passed a ban on texting while driving for folks 21 and under two years ago, it came with a great deal of discussion. Since then, repeated efforts have been made to ban texting while driving for everybody; they have failed every time.
If texting and using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous, why not include law enforcement in the ban? Why not ban folks from changing radio stations while driving? Or, maybe no sound should be allowed in a vehicle while driving? Where does this stop? Why does the federal government think it is necessary to creep into everybody's lives in every way imaginable? There are a lot of us who have had more than enough, and will fight to end the ridiculousness coming out of Washington, D.C., on what seems to be a daily basis now. I will continue to fight for our state's right to govern its own citizens.
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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.
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