Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Will new cellphone ban make difference?

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Greg Peck
Thursday, November 1, 2012

I turned off Parker Place and headed up Court Street hill in Janesville on Wednesday just as a batch of traffic approached. A woman driving an SUV quickly pulled even with me, and I noticed she had her face focused on her cellphone. As I drove alongside, she continued to spend more time looking at the miniature screen than the road. It appeared obvious she was texting in violation of state law rather than just dialing a phone number.

The ban on texting while operating a moving vehicle has been in effect nearly two years, but patrol officers find it difficult to figure out if a driver is making a call or texting. The law has resulted in few tickets.

A new state law taking effect today bans cellphone use for drivers with instructional permits or probationary licenses and those who’ve had licenses reinstated after revocations or suspensions. A story in today’s Gazette says it also covers new state residents who are younger than 21 or have less than three years of experience and also drivers licensed in other countries.

The question is, how will patrol officers—other than those parked around schools as teenagers are leaving—know whether the drivers they’re observing fall into any of these categories? This will be difficult, as well.

Isn’t this just another state law that won’t have much effect? If lawmakers really want to make a difference, wouldn’t they ban all drivers from using mobile devices while handling moving vehicles?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 10:05 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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