Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

The libertarian cell-phone car wreck lawsuit theory

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on March 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
March 12, 2010 4:38 pm

This post on the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s blog is the kind of thing that makes libertarian types look so goofy.

The apparent logic: Some people can drive safely while jabbering into cell phones, so the law ought to permit anyone to drive around with one hand on the wheel and the other fiddling with the phone. Otherwise, we’ve got a “police state” on our hands.

As a guy who’s been hit more than once by inattentive drivers, I’ll point out that driving isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. Letting cops take preemptive measures against unsafe practices isn’t exactly Stalinism. The rules aren’t written for the convenience of the best drivers; they’re written to protect me and everyone else from the worst drivers.

I’m sure there are people who can competently handle a car with .10 percent of alcohol flowing in their veins and people who can avoid killing someone with .15 percent. That doesn’t mean we ought to ditch the presumptive intoxication standards.

The blogger’s solution for cell-phone drivers: Sue the chatterbox if he hits you. That’s assuming you survive. I’d just as soon not get hit in the first place.

The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for Report violators to