Don’t gut ban on cellphones

Efforts to allow exceptions to the state’s ban on using cellphones or texting while driving are, for the most part, way off base.

A proposed bill would allow drivers to use the devices to check traffic or weather conditions. The only problem with that exception is that every driver pulled over for using a mobile device while driving would claim he or she was just checking one of those conditions.

It would render the ban useless and unenforceable.

While we have little sympathy for those using their devices while driving, it may well be true the law is causing congestion in the court system. That can be remedied by amending the law to allow first-time abusers to mail in their fine.

The other portion of the law that should be amended is to allow people in parked cars to use their mobile devices. By parked cars, we mean autos that are off the roadway – not those caught in a traffic jam.

The heart of the law should not be changed. As testimony showed last spring before Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the ban, distracted drivers are every bit as dangerous as drunk ones.

We are amazed with the number of people who still use mobile devices while driving. You would think the publicity given to distracted driving would sink in. If proponents of loosening the law are correct that it is causing court congestion, then apparently many in the public are not getting the message.

That is all the more proof this law is necessary and should not be gutted by exceptions.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.