Taking a "principled" stand for personal liberty, Stevenson explained his opposition to legislation which would ban talking on handheld cell phones while driving:
Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, expressed displeasure, calling the legislation another example of the government intruding upon residents' liberties.
"My general rule of thumb is, I am generally opposed to anything that is a further government intrusion into personal freedoms," he said. "There has to be a compelling, overriding interest in order for the government to intrude on individual rights and individual freedoms. I think restricting people from using cell phones in their vehicle doesn't meet that test."
Stevenson said driving while engaging in other distracting behaviors such as eating or drinking coffee can be just as dangerous.
While I have no problem with allowing people to have liberty, what Stevenson is conveniently ignoring is that the activities that he mentioned, eating and drinking coffee, while obviously not ideal things to do while you are driving, do not represent the double risk that talking on a cell phone does. Every day I see a near accident caused by someone who is ignoring other traffic while concentrating on a cell phone conversation.
To talk on the cell phone while you are driving, means you are not only holding the phone, but you are involved in a conversation, two acts that siphon concentration from the act of driving. The same thing does not apply to eating while driving, unless of course, Rep. Stevenson has a habit of arguing with his cheeseburgers.