Cellphones and alcohol
State Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, and his legislative colleagues are considering lowering the legal limit for drunken driving from a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 to 0.05 ("Utah senator considers cutting state's drunk driving threshold," Tribune, May 16). Their motivation is increased safety on our roads, a laudable goal; however, their focus is misguided.
There is a far more ubiquitous cause of impaired driving that plagues our public roadways: the cellphone. Studies have shown that cellphone talking and driving produces the same level of impairment as being intoxicated at the current 0.08 blood-alcohol level. Whether the phone is hands-free or in the driver's hand, the degree of impairment is the same.
I encourage Valentine and his colleagues to outlaw cellphone use by anyone operating a 3,000-pound battering ram.
I have been privileged to spend some weeks driving in foreign countries where cellphone use is forbidden while driving, including Germany's speed-limit-free autobahn. In these countries, I never saw an accident in city or on highway. It is a rare day when I drive my daily commute here in the land of the cellphone-impaired driver without passing one or two accidents.