retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Here’s potential legislation that could affect virtually every businessperson in America.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that the National Transportation Safety Board is asking states “to prohibit the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving.”

According to the story, “the NTSB can't force states to adopt such bans, but the recommendations of the five-member board may influence states to toughen cellphone regulations. Hands-free devices, which are designed to let drivers keep both hands on the wheel while talking on a cellphone via speakers or a headset, would be prohibited as well under the guidelines ... Although it might seem that hands-free devices would be safer by allowing drivers to keep both hands on the steering wheel, the Department of Transportation has said research shows that drivers are still distracted by the phone conversation itself and miss audio and visual cues that would normally help a person avoid a crash.”

Two interesting sets of statistics from the story:

• “More than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents, the Department of Transportation said. By comparison, more than 10,000 people were killed in crashes caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.”

• “No state bans use of both hand-held and hands-free cellphones for fully licensed drivers, although some have such a ban for younger drivers. Nine states and Washington, D.C., prohibit the use of hand-held cellphones, and 35 states and D.C. have a ban on texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, a group that represents highway-safety offices.”
KC's View:
Forget whether this rule makes sense or not. If states start to pass such a ban, you’re going to have businesspeople all of America committing wanton acts of civil disobedience. They’re going to get pulled over and ticketed. They;re going to have to pay fines...and that money is going to help rebuild states’ depleted treasuries...

Wait a minute. I think we’re onto something here. This isn't about safety. This is about taxation without actual taxation!