Opinion: Cell phones in cars not a key issue

Editor’s note: The writer send this letter originally to Addison County state Sen. Claire Ayer.
Hello, Ms. Ayer,
I met you at the top of the Crown Point Bridge during the opening celebration in 2012. I was pleased to meet you and feel I am well represented by you. Thank you for your service.
This morning I am listening to Vermont Public Radio (VPR) and heard there is a bill which will outlaw using handheld cell phones while driving. This is overkill and should not be passed.
I drive my car 30,000 miles per year for work, school, errands and family. I use my cell phone regularly while I travel. I use it in the same way I use my radio, my hair comb, my lipstick, my notebook and any other tool needed to weave successfully through my busy life. I drive safely and respectfully. I do not let my lipstick, children or any other tool including my cell phone interfere with my safe driving. Safe driving is the goal, is it not?
Vermont has a growing heroin crisis, a rising incarceration rate, a growing mentally ill population in our prisons, and 60 percent of our high school seniors are texting while driving. We have a social crisis. We need to address our increasingly disconnected population. This bill overreaches. It is another round in the whack-a-mole game our legislators and our society are playing. Please do not support this legislation. It is not the answer.
Why are our teenagers driving dangerously? Because they are teenagers. Why do we have a heroin epidemic? Because we have heroin addicts. You can not legislate against being a teenager or addict.
We need to stop playing whack-a-mole and focus on reengaging our population through jobs and education.
Laurie Childers

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