Editorial: Cell phone law should be expanded to all

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2006

Limiting distractions among young drivers has its merits and will likely result in fewer crashes which should provide some level of comfort for parents.

A law, which went into effect when the calander page was turned to January, will see young drivers with a provisional license ticketed for a moving violation and fined $100 plus court costs each time they are caught. They will also face delays in obtaining their drivers license.

We agree wholeheartedly with the new law and hope it will prevent the crashes that can leave families devastated. However, our guess is, parents are setting the example by their own cell phone use while driving and the law whould be expanded to include all cell phone users, as suggested by local law enforcement.

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Statistically speaking, cell phones were a factor in 2,600 U.S. traffic deaths in 2003, the most recent year statistics were available through the National Highway Safety Administration.

It’s estimated at least 14,000 motorists in Minnesota are on cell phones while driving at any given time.

That’s a whole lot of potential for accidents on state highways.

Police chief Dwaine Winkels suggested visiting any intersection in town to see people violating traffic laws, creating unnecessary risks to law-abiding drivers. Hmm, perhaps doing a count of such activity similar to the seat belt counts communities did a few years back would be in order.

Whether the law is expanded in Albert Lea or the state, we recommend a return to the days before cell phones &045; drivers should make their calls from a stopped vehicle, at the office or from home.