Marlyanders: Let's focus on driving

March 30, 2010

We Americans are basically a greedy lot. A case in point is the privilege (not a right) to use hand-held cell phones while driving. Chris Millirons wrote in The Sun that the Maryland legislature wants to pass laws that "relinquish freedoms" ("Cell phone ban: How quickly we relinquish our freedom," Readers respond, March 30). Once we have tasted certain freedoms and they are taken from us, we pout. Mr. Millirons, are you pouting?

Apparently Mr. Millirons does not drive the same Maryland highways and roads that I do. Passing laws to ban hand-held cell phones is a step in the right direction: that is to redirect Marylanders to do what they should be doing when operating a motor vehicle. It wouldn't bother me in the least if laws were passed in the future that would outlaw other peripheral activities such as eating, shaving, reading, etc. I have seen drivers who drape their newspapers over the steering wheel while driving. Our schedules are packed tight with to-do lists and appointments to the point where many feel compelled to "multi-task" while driving. I know. Being in sales, I am one of the many guilty parties.

I wouldn't oppose an annual state driving test to keep the privilege. Do we really need to re-learn how to drive and comprehend why it is critical to stay focused on the task at hand? I personally believe we do.

The reality is that Marylanders need to refocus when they sit in their vehicles and turn the ignition. We are operating a potentially lethal mass of aerodynamic steel and rubber that could impact the lives of many for years by making a few dense split-second decisions.

Patrick R. Lynch, Baltimore

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