Sunday, February 18, 2007

The next stop on the slippery slope

Those in favor of government control of cigarettes will be pleased to see this story:
Gemany may ban smoking while driving
Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:59 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany may outlaw smoking in cars because it is a health hazard and a safety risk, the government's commissioner for substance abuse Sabine Baetzing said.

"We're examining whether it would be possible to ban smoking while driving and how that would work," she told the Kurier am Sonntag newspaper in an excerpt made available on Saturday.

She said a ban on smoking in cars was urgently needed even if it would represent an invasion of privacy.

"We've got to ask ourselves if traffic safety and health protection should not take precedence. Smoke fumes inside a car are many times higher than in other areas."

"In Germany we can no longer afford to ignore the dangers of second-hand smoke," she said, adding that it was up to the 16 federal states to take a tougher stance.

I'm not a smoker. I don't really like being in the same room with smokers. My wife smells it on my clothes when I've been in a home where smokers live. But I don't agree that our lives are in any way enhanced by making the smoking of cigarettes while driving a crime.

Look, we've already got laws on the books that cover inattentive driving. If police departments stretched those laws to the limits, then drinking coffee, talking on a cell phone, tuning the radio, having an animated conversation with a passenger, even fiddling with the rear-view mirror could earn the driver a ticket for inattentive driving. Why write a new law?

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