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Cell Phone

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When a cell phone goes off in a classroom or at a concert, we

are irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. When we

are on the road, however, irresponsible cell phone users are more

than irritating: They are putting our lives at risk. Many of us have

witnessed drivers so distracted by dialing and chatting that they

resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes, for example, or

nearly running down pedestrians in crosswalks. A number of bills to

regulate use of cell phones on the road have been introduced in

state legislatures, and the time has come to push for their passage.

Regulation is needed because drivers using phones are seriously

impaired and because laws on negligent and reckless driving are

not sufficient to punish offenders.

No one can deny that cell phones have caused traffic deaths

and injuries. Cell phones were implicated in three fatal accidents in

November 1999 alone. Early in November, two-year-old Morgan

Pena was killed by a driver distracted by his cell phone. Morgan's

mother, Patti Pena, reports that the driver "ran a stop sign at 45

mph, broadsided my vehicle and killed Morgan as she sat in her car

seat." A week later, corrections officer Shannon Smith, who was

guarding prisoners by the side of the road, was killed by a woman




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