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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Two Florida lawmakers want to pass a don't-text-and-drive law for minors. I can hardly blame them. After all, who hasn't been scared of the guy with one hand on the wheel and the other on a phone? However, I am not so convinced the bill is a good thing for drivers in the Sunshine State.

While the potential ban has good intentions, it is flawed. Passing a law on something doesn't always solve problems. Drugs haven't disappeared because they're illegal - the law just makes criminals out of those who possess marijuana, cocaine and LSD. If South American crime lords have no qualms about their products being smuggled into America, will some teens take the same attitude toward cell-phone use?

In addition, a texting ban is overgeneralized. Why should texting be singled out amid a litany of other driving distractions? If people can't send messages while driving, then they'll eat, put on makeup or handle fussy kids instead. And as long as we live in the fast-paced society that is America, people will continue to multitask behind the wheel.

A ban on texting would unfairly discriminate against younger drivers, who are most likely to break this law. Lawyers, doctors and soccer moms could be just as guilty, but the bill won't really work against them. Why should just the young be targeted?

Insurance companies charge the youngest drivers the highest rates because statistically, their inexperience often leads to more accidents and higher costs. If the texting ban is enforced, and it were found that many accidents were caused by these young "criminals," that would give Geico, Allstate, and State Farm insurance companies the ability to raise their already high rates, largely due to a misdemeanor charge adding yet another blemish to young drivers' records. They could win big since most young people are guilty of texting anytime, anywhere.

We know from government class that many corporations hire lobbyists to get lawmakers to pass laws like these that benefit businesses' pocketbooks. Thus, it's very likely that the bill was created not to keep drivers safer, but to make certain companies richer. OMG, this is SNF!

So until common sense prevails in Tallahassee, buckle up, follow the speed limit and get off the phone.

Vincent Gagliano is a sophomore majoring in physics. His column appears on Wednesdays.

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