Could Other Indiana Communities Follow Lead of Gary City Council In Passing Cell Phone Ban

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 4, 2007 at 8:22 PM EDT

Will action taken by the Gary City Council to ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones lead to other Indiana communities following suit?

Fort Wayne City Council Member Tom Smith brought the subject up at a candidate forum Wednesday night, but he made it clear in a follow up contact that he has no intention of proposing such an ordinance for our city.

But you can't deny nationwide the trend is moving towards greater restrictions on use of hand-held cell phones in vehicles, in fact several states have such bans already.

We spoke to a University of St. Francis Professor, who believes rather than a statewide prohibition in Indiana, you're more likely to see individual locales grapple with the pros and cons, especially when enforcement can further tax police agencies.

Dr. Doug Meador/Assistant Business Professor: " They're already somewhat overloaded, and what's going to be more important, chasing down someone who's speeding or chasing down somebody who's not wearing their seat belt in the front seat, or somebody who's on a cell phone. It's just one more task that's added to their job."

Dr. Meador also brought up the infringement on personal freedoms argument, how far do we let the government go in this area of our lives?

However, Officer Roy Sutphin with Fort Wayne Police says a recent fatal accident in the city’s jurisdiction involved a driver talking on a cell phone.

He says the practice is definitely dangerous, and that his agency would almost certainly support a ban similar to the one approved by the Gary City Council, as a way to improve public safety.

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