Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 6, 2012

Texting pedestrians pose danger to themselves

(Continued)

It’s the same with cellphone use in cars. Like Prohibition in the 1920s, bans on smartphone use will be ignored by individuals who believe government has overstepped its authority.

Yes, states and towns can impose restrictions on smartphone use. They also can make it illegal to chew gum while walking or take a stroll with untied shoes if the case can be made that it’s to promote public safety.

But in a free society, letting people do foolish things comes with the territory, even if they pose a danger to themselves by wandering into a lamppost. When their conduct threatens others, however, that’s where a line must be drawn.

But I expect phone use while driving will persist. After all, years of tough law enforcement hasn’t halted drunk driving. So long as people think they can get away with it, they’ll keep trying.

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Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Castle (Pa.) News.

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