Government shouldn't legislate against every way of getting hurt

Government has often been labeled as "Big Brother." Too often it tries to be an overprotective mother.


According to The Associated Press, a growing number of communities are imposing fines for walking while texting. Ft. Lee, N.J., police are issuing $85 fines for careless walking. They point to situations where people texting, talking on cellphones or listening to music have bumped into other pedestrians, walked into walls or strayed into intersections.

Research from Ohio State University showed cellphone use by pedestrians led to more than 1,000 emergency room visits nationwide in 2008. But for comparison, there are 43,000 children injured every year in the U.S. in slips and falls in the bathtub.

We concede the dangers of doing anything -- walking, driving, bicycling, mowing the grass -- while distracted. We have supported laws to try to stop the use of handheld devices while driving because of the deaths and injuries caused by thousands of pounds of metal crashing into other vehicles or pedestrians.

But there have to be limits to how intrusive government gets while trying to protect us. Face the facts. There are some people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Others always seem to have their head in the clouds even without an electronic device.

We can't legislate common sense, and we can't cover people in bubble wrap and monitor their every move to make sure they don't do something stupid that might hurt them.


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