DONNELLY: And I think the fact that you might cause a death, someone else’s death or your own, is such a powerful prohibiter of that, that we really don’t need to be increasing the fine. And I don’t think we need to have the cops pulling people over and giving them texting tickets. I see the cops driving down the street texting. So when a cop is driving down the street texting, and then he’s going to give me a ticket for texting, I think it’s wrong. And I think ultimately, there’s a great consequence to that kind of behavior. And as intelligent, rational human beings who live in a free society, is it too much to ask that we just police ourselves? It just seems that’s what the founders intended. And I feel like this is just more of a nanny state government that costs us a lot of money, and ultimately abridges more and more liberties to the point that – is the government going to tell me where I can go next? Or how many miles I can drive?
For the record, drivers distracted by their cellphones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007. So this law has nothing to do with some kind of “nanny state” effort to protect people from themselves, and everything to do with eliminating a dangerous activity that kills thousands of innocents every year.
Donnelly is right in one respect, however. There can be no doubt that the founders did not foresee liberty-squashing texting and driving laws, for the same reason their vision of American government says nothing about the Internet, space shuttles, automatic dishwashers, the Industrial Revolution, iPads or the short-lived professional baseball career of Michael Jordan.
Assemblyman Donnelly, for his part, has not yet explained how he thinks Thomas Jefferson would have regulated the nuclear power industry.