Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Federal Government Needs to Pick a Position

Earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board, proposed a total cell phone ban which has led to some groups worrying about a federal overreach

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a complete ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

The recommended ban includes hands free devices.

“No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” Deborah A. P. Hersman, chairman of the N.T.S.B., said.

According to a CNN report, “The safety board also recommended the electronics industry develop phones that would discourage their use by drivers, but could identify a car occupant’s location so that passengers could use the devices.”

The federal agency insists the law, along with “strict enforcement” and “aggressive educational campaigns,” are all necessary to curb distracted driving.

Now, there are of course a whole host of reasons why this is a really bad, bad idea.  there are constitutional questions as well as propriety questions, as in whether this is a reasonable exercise of any police powers, let alone federal powers.  But I have a more fundmental, basic question.  How on earth does the NTSB propose to enforce this cell phone ban? 

The only possible way I can see enforcement of this proposed law is to have local law enforcement officers police and enforce the law.  Of course co-opting state and local law enforcement to police a federal law carries a whole host of federalsim concerns all of which have been explored on multiple occaisions by the courts and thus not particularly likely to pass unless the federal government provides for some sort of block grant or other appropriation to enforce the ban.

Now here is the question:  If local law enforcement is good enough to enforce a cell phone ban in cars, why is local law enforcement NOT good enough to enforce immigration laws?

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