This is the type of tyranny CS Lewis was describing with his famous quote.
Thu, 05/11/2023 - 9:40am admin
Chief Ellison declares this isn't a witch hunt, but that is exactly what it is. His own example proves his statement false!
If a person is merely eating and driving, then yes, they should be left alone. If that same person is swerving all over the road-THAT IS A REASON for them to be pulled over. The fact they're holding a Big Mac is just an incidental circumstance related to their reckless driving.
Driving in a way that is hazardous to other motorists is illegal. It doesn't matter if the person is stone cold sober with both hands on the wheel and the radio turned off or if the person is slobbering drunk....or eating garbage.
Passing such an ordinance to address reckless driving is completely unnecessary since there are already laws addressing that on the books. This ordinance will give LE license to just arbitrarily pull people over if they see anything in their hands in addition to the steering wheel. It doesn't matter if It's a phone, sandwich, coffee cup or cigarette. Is our police mantra switching from "...to serve and protect" to the phrase of : "Show me the object and I'll find the crime"?
Also- Chief Ellison's statistic that nearly 70% of drivers in MO crashes were over the age of 22 is a slightly misleading statistic when you consider the fact that nearly 75% of the population of MO is over the age of 22. It would stand to reason that 3/4ths of the crashes would involve the demographic that comprises 3/4ths of the population. Less than 1% of Missouri crashes were caused by distracted drivers under the age of 16. Does that mean they are just naturally safer?
Equally misleading is the 2021 fatality number presented when considering that that number is National- not just MO inclusive. Missouri had a total of 1007 fatal crashes in 2021 and that number includes distracted driving. I was not at the meeting, so I can't say for certain if it was mentioned that 3522 was national. I did look it up, and that is the national number. News articles are generally not full transcriptions of every word spoken at an event.
Cell phone distractions- It has been illegal for persons under 21 to text and drive in MO since 2009, the law has been revised to include everybody since then, so the city does not need a special ordinance to address that. As a general distraction, cell phone distractions have increased by 31% since 2014.....Statistics are a funny thing. If I go back far enough, I can measure the lack of laws related to safety as the number one cause of crashes by measuring the increase of crashes from 1920 compared to 2020....and another person can use those same numbers to show how the laws passed since have failed to protect ..
"Distracted Driving" is a subjective term and there can be a very vague interpretation of how the law can or will be enforced. When you look at how they enforce speeding on every vehicle rolling into town, I doubt if this will not be enforced with the same zeal.
Chief Ellison says it will not be a witch hunt, but he cannot speak to the future. The next generation of officers may have different interpretations of how to enforce it. The misleading way with which facts were presented also raises doubts.
My personal feeling on this ordinance is that if the people presenting it as a necessary action to address public safety feel compelled to mislead to garner public support, then they are also lying about how it will be enforced.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience”-CS Lewis
Bill Joslin, Willow Springs