FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
British drivers who get caught talking on their cell phones or sending text messages while driving can now be sent to jail. What a great idea.
A new law means people can now be charged with "dangerous driving", which carries a 2-year maximum prison sentence and an unlimited fine. Under the old law, motorists faced a lesser charge of "careless driving" which carried a $120 fine and three points on their license.
The new law came about because of growing public concern over drivers using hand-held phones, which were banned while driving back in 2003. Because of a lack of aggressive enforcement and relatively mild penalties, vast numbers of drivers ignored the law and continued to endanger themselves and everyone else on the road by yakking on their cell phones.
The British government says drivers are four times more likely to crash if they're holding a cell phone or sending a text message while driving.
And it's not just cell phones they're going after. The new measure also punishes other aspects of dangerous driving, things like smoking, racing, reading a map or newspaper and making sudden lane changes.
Here’s my question to you: Is it too harsh a punishment to jail people for using cell phones while driving?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Andrea from Twin Lake, Michigan writes:
As a grief counselor, I was once called in to work with the mother of a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a car accident. The child was talking to her mother on a cell phone at the time, thus her mother helplessly heard the crash and her daughter take her last breath. I would gladly put my daughter in jail for a time if it would save her life.
Brian from Chatsworth, California writes:
Yes, it is absolutely unfair. These are all steps to the government becoming more of a nanny state. You can't protect people with ridiculous laws all the time. With liberty comes certain dangers. These choices are what make a nation free.
Frank from Tallmadge, Ohio writes:
It is a great idea. I am a firefighter/paramedic and can't tell you how many injuries I have seen from these idiots talking on their phones while attempting to drive. The worst are the ones driving past an accident scene we are working on and the passersby are gawking at us AND yapping on their phones, nearly driving into us!
Jail time as a first offense is a much too large punishment for using a cell phone. If police actually caught every single person using a cell phone while driving, the whole country would be in prison.
Yes, throw the book at them. I have been cut off in traffic so many times by idiots who feel their phone conversation is more important than my life. I carry a sign in my car which I hold up at stop lights: "Get off the phone and let me live."
Times like this I'm glad we won our independence from England. Yes, driving while distracted is a problem. However, it is not a felony. Now excuse me. I think my exit is coming up.
Maybe Jack will read yours tomorrow.