In NH, HB 1360 passed in 2014 ( 192 Yea 133 Nay. Crawford Yea, Cordelli Nay, Wright Nay) which prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. Distracted driving has become a very serious and deadly problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. When driving, your primary duty is giving full attention to driving your vehicle. Texting while driving distracts you from that task and can lead to deadly crashes.
Opponents of this legislation believe that responsible adults should be able to decide whether to use a cell phone in a car and that the state government should not be telling people what they can do in their own car. Using a cell phone while driving is a matter of "liberty.”
There was an attempt this year to repeal this law, but the bill was killed by the NH House Transportation committee.
Capt. Matthew Shapiro, commander of highway safety for New Hampshire State Police, stated in this article in the Union Leader, fatal and serious-injury crashes in New Hampshire are still overwhelmingly caused by three things: impairment, distracted driving and speeding.
If one were to take the "liberty" argument to the extreme as some do, adults should also be able to decide if they are impaired when driving or how fast they should drive without fear of law enforcement.In Texas the other day, the 20 year old driver of a pick up truck, Jack Dillon Young, was seen swerving and going over the center line by numerous witnesses prior to the crash that killed 13 people, and in fact calls were made to the sheriffs office to get him off the road. Soon after the accident, Young was quoted as saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was texting.'
The Texas Legislature approved a statewide distracted driving ban in 2011, which was then vetoed by then-Gov. Rick Perry. He called the law government micromanagement. 46 States have some type of legislation in place addressing distracted driving.
The sad truth is that not everyone has enough common sense to always do the right and safe thing when driving. Numerous legislators in Concord also do not have the common sense to do what is best for NH rather than an ideology by voting against common sense legislation.
Clearly a 20 year old in Texas also did not.
Would you feel safer driving in NH if there were no traffic laws? Common sense tells me otherwise.