Why stop with cell phones?

January 26, 2006 11:00 pm

Mayor Chuck Hofmann might have missed the Baker City Council's work session last week if another driver, distracted by her cell phone, hadn't missed him.

Instead, he survived the near miss to propose exploring local penalties for drivers who cause accidents while on cell phones.

It's not clear whether Oregon law would allow this.

But if it does, Baker City could easily write an ordinance that addresses drivers who cause accidents while:

o Fumbling with your stereo

o Scolding children in the back seat

o Unwrapping your gooey double cheeseburger

o Reading Jonathan Swift

o Putting on your makeup in the rearview mirror

o Concocting new city ordinances.

And since you can't light up indoors in Baker City, smokers often take refuge behind the wheel. One frustrating encounter with a childproof lighter and bam! Car accident.

It's a scary world out there.

How do we conquer our fear and tackle this multi-faceted threat head-on?

Ultimately the common factor in every automobile accident in Baker City isn't cell phones, or children, or tobacco products, or even driver negligence.

It's driving.

Baker City can cut to the core of this issue and, as a bonus, eliminate any need for further debate about parking lots down by the river or angle parking on Main Street.

So why single out cell phones?

Just outlaw automobiles in Baker City. That's the only way to reduce the incidence of reckless and careless driving to zero.