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Time is now for cell phone ban bill to pass

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on March 03, 2002:

Senator Dyson From time to time, I like to update you on issues that concern you the most. These are the ones I receive the most e-mails, letter or telephone calls where you weigh in with your very welcome opinions.

One of these issues involves a proposal to ban cell phone use while driving. During this past General Assembly Session in which I drive back and forth from Annapolis to my home in Southern Maryland, I have noticed a lot of drivers using their cell phones and this has become a matter of concern to me.

The bill to ban cell phone usage while driving has been sponsored by my colleague in the House of Delegates, John Arnick, for several years. Obviously, the phone companies have spent a lot of money lobbying against this bill and this measure has died a quick death in committee in the past. But there is growing sentiment that this bill should be passed.

The State Police has agreed not to take a stance on this issue, nor has the State Highway Administration. They say they donít have enough statistics that show a correlation between accidents and cell phone use. Iím not disputing these agencies. They may not have the statistics, but common sense tells you that if you are dialing a cell phone while driving, your eyes are not on the road -- they are on the telephone.

If the driverís eyes are not on the road, they are a risk to others.

I would be remiss if I didnít admit that I have on occasion dialed my own cell phone while driving and while I appreciate the convenience this affords, one can clearly see how it can be distracting.

Southern Marylandís roads are becoming more and more congested and traffic is a real problem. We need fewer diversions than ever before. Banning cell phone use while driving would do just this.

Another issue I hear complaints about all the time is telemarketing. There is a bill that would remove a lot of telemarketing headaches.

This bill in the Senate would prohibit a person engaged in telephone solicitation from intentionally using an automated answering device to leave a voice message or an automated message related to the solicitation for the recipient of the solicitation or a member of the recipient's household.

Telemarketing provides thousands of jobs and I do not support outlawing it altogether. However, I do believe the industry has gone too far by now cluttering up our answering machines with messages we normally would cut short when answering a telemarketerís call. Many answering machines can only take a certain amount of messages. Most telemarketersí pitches on answering machines are much too long and I donít want to miss an important message instead of receiving an unwelcome one. I am hoping this bill passes so we no longer have to bother ourselves with this type of annoyance.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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