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'Big Government' Wants to Ban Cell Phone Use

Posted 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.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

You are right on target Bill! Just because something is dangerous, doesn't mean that 'guvment' should take away our right to do it, even if it does cause the death of innocent people.

I look forward to your future efforts to rescind those inconvenient laws against having a few beers, or shots of whiskey while driving. Repeal of such laws doesn't mean that we would ignore the tragedy of a few deaths caused by drunk drivers, I know you would not.

You are right in saying "there are a lot of us who have had more than enough, and will fight to end the ridiculousness". I am four square against ridiculousness, which is why I am writing this. It is time to reverse the trend, and laws against drunk driving. After all generations of good ole boys (including me) grew up riding the roads of Saline County chuggin em down, and firing empties at speed limit signs with very few folks being injured, or killed.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Dec 16, 2011, at 10:58 PM

Who said that laws are made to protect the innocent by restricting others from behavior that can result in harm to the innocent? What kind of Malarkey is that?

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 12:24 AM

Oklahoma Reader

I must respectfully disagree.

If I am reading Senator Stouffer correctly, he is merely asserting that such measures are best decided at the State level. He makes a strong case for his thesis.

After all, if I am correct, the seatbelt, driving, and liquor laws are all currently Missouri State laws. Why should cell phone usage while driving be any different?

I find myself in complete agreement with Senator Stouffer. Vehicular operation and the laws that govern such are a state matter and not something that should be decided at the federal level.

-- Posted by news across on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 1:22 AM


What I cannot understand is why this is a federal issue? Vehicular operation is normally governed at the state level. I don't see why the matter of cell-phone usage while driving is different in this respect than driving while drinking which is also governed at the state level.

The issue of abortion is completely unrelated to this matter. Reproductive rights are governed primarily by the 14th Amendment, and it is the Federal Courts who decide matters related to the Federal Constitution and its Amendments. Granted States often attempt to pass conservative laws meant to restrict the reproductive rights of women, never-the-less, motor vehicle laws have almost always been the exclusive domain of the state.

I might add that while Senator Stoffer and I may disagree on quite a number of matters, this is not one of them.

Motor vehicle governance is and always has been a matter delegated to the states when those vehicals are being operated on state roads and highways.

-- Posted by news across on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 1:58 AM

Oh and sorry for the typo. I mean Senator Stouffer not "Stoffer."

I really should learn to proof-read a bit better lol.

-- Posted by news across on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 5:06 AM

I suppose that if we knew how the Senator voted on the Missouri statute restricting cell phone use by those under 21 we would know more as to his motives regarding the federal cell phone question at hand here. By the way it is under the legal purview of the I.C.C., and not some new intrusion regarding buses, and trucks.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 10:37 AM

There has always been Laws,but stay out of our Personal Life's! Like we have no sense of our own!Considering the Population raising the way it does, bad thing are going to happen! We have to have Police to Protect,but we don't need them treating us like were idiots.There is not a enough Laws in the world to cover everything,and shouldn't be.You have to be aware of everything when you leave you Front Door, most do! A few Morons change thing for all. Making Laws is thought to make thing better.In my opinion it don't! I was there for awhile, and seen it completely change Peoples lives for the worst. Crap happens! we have to live with it,and take own responsibility's. Government make thing better for us,not worse! Keep your nose out of our Religion,our Bedrooms,our Woman's Uterus,our Health,let us take care of that ,and other Personal Business!! Go Catch some of these real bad Guys like some of your Colleagues in Government!Just a thought.

-- Posted by Jo on Tue, Dec 27, 2011, at 4:39 AM

If the good senator thinks banning texting while driving is a good idea, I invite him to drive on the highway with a bunch of teenagers driving along with him. Even better if it is on a date night and the same teenagers are making party plans.

Let's not ban alcohol for teens either, they are responsible enough, don't ya think...senator?

-- Posted by Interested Too on Tue, Dec 27, 2011, at 11:07 AM

I meant to say 'bad idea' above.

Good thing I wasn't driving while typing all of this, I could have made a worse mistake!

-- Posted by Interested Too on Wed, Dec 28, 2011, at 9:10 AM

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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.