In response to the letter by Samuel J. Hurst, “Preserve Cell Phone Freedom While Driving” (May 5):
Cell phone freedom while driving a ton vehicle at speed is a potential freedom to kill.
In today’s tangled traffic, a distracted driver talking on a cell phone is a menace to other drivers. For example, drivers on the Parkway West drive at 60 mph — 88 feet per second and more, and they drive less than 88 feet apart. A distraction of one second is enough to cause a pileup. A distraction of 3.4 seconds while talking on a cell phone means traveling the length of a football field.
Why is it so important to be able to talk on a telephone while driving? Before the advent of cell phones, we got along fine without them.
People are going to talk on cell phones while driving whether it is illegal or not. If they cause accidents, they should pay stiff personal fines. Make it illegal for their insurance companies to pay their fines in addition to insurance money paid to the victims of their accidents.
If those personal fines were on the order of $3,000 for a first offense, $5,000 and a three-month driver’s license suspension for a second offense and a permanent loss of a driver’s license for a third offense, people would take notice. The current scant fines for texting — $50, and $90 — are a joke, implying that those offenses are not serious.
At 15 mph, traveling at 22 feet per second in a school zone, a two-second distraction could have tragic results.
JAMES GARDEN JR.