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Enumclaw does not need another law | Letter
Note: the following was written in response to a proposed “inattentive driving” ordinance that went before the Enumclaw City Council. The council has already decided the issue, approving the driving ordinance by a 5-0 vote on June 10.
This is not what Enumclaw wants or needs. Our small, conservative town does not need one more law or ordinance that can potentially violate our civil rights. I think between the state and the federal government we put up with enough of this already.
Why doesn’t the police chief just say it like it is? This is all a ploy to get more money for the city, which in turn will go to his department. In addition, distracted driving laws in other cities similar to the one being proposed have had increased scrutiny due to the potential violation of civil rights, meaning officers are stopping people under the pretext of distracted driving only to be interrogated on an unrelated matter or subject to an unlawful search or seizure.
This law proposes that a police officer can stop anyone driving for any reason and give us a ticket for it under the guise of “distracted driving”! Currently, the only “distractions” police can ticket drivers for is for texting or talking on a cell phone. This law would give officers too much leeway to pull people over and ticket at their whim. I can see it now, instead of waiting at speed traps and bars to catch speeders and drunk drivers, officers will now be parked outside McDonald’s and veterinary clinics making sure drivers don’t eat their hamburgers and fries, or drive off with their pets in the car without a carrier or a seatbelt. I suppose if we can’t eat and drive, we probably aren’t safe to drink our coffee and drive either.
No one disputes the fact that texting while driving is distracting and dangerous, but come on, having a blanket law called “inattentive driving” without any specifications of what being distracted or inattentive entails, is going down a slippery slope. I don’t know if any of these people backing or voting on this ordinance have ever driven in a car with screaming children, but that is more distracting than anything, so could we potentially be ticketed if our child is screaming in the back seat?
I am sorry, but this law is ridiculous and I hope the city council will agree.