Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rep. Chris Herrod asks, "Will this [Bill] make their trip to California longer?"

From The Sausage Grinder by Joe Pyrah:

The debate about banning smoking in cars when children are present is a couple of years old now. But yesterday's House floor discussion may well be the most surreal yet. Specifically, the back and forth between Provo's Chris Herrod and bill sponsor Jay Seegmiller. I'm posting the transcript because nothing I can write will do this thing justice:

Herrod: I'm just wondering what do you anticipate people that are addicted to cigarettes, do you think they'll just not drive? What do you think ... How do you think this will change their behavior?

Seegmiller: What we're asking is not ... we're not telling people they can't smoke in their car, what we're asking is when they have their children in their in a car, or when a babysitter has a child in a car, to not smoke while they are driving that car. If they do get a tremendous urge to smoke, just pull over and step out for a minute. That's a small inconvenience to protect the health and well-being of children.

Herrod: And I guess I would ask ... I guess my follow up question is ... Is it more dangerous for a car to be on the side of the road, pulled off to the side of the road or is it more dangerous for a child to be smoking ... or be in a car where a parent is smoking?

Seegmiller: Obviously you would hope that someone would pull over some place where it is safe.

Herrod: But do you think that will be the actual behavior?

Seegmiller: I don't understand the question.

Herrod: Will they actually pull off simply to the side of the road where we know that a significant portion of our accidents, and actually our deadly accidents are accidents where a parked car on the side of the road is actually hit? Or do you think they are automatically going to pull off to a safe spot? If they're in the middle ... there are some sections of the freeway where there are 20 miles between exits. If they have an urge to smoke do you think they'll wait for the next exit or will they just pull over to the side of the road?

Seegmiller: I can't answer that. I don't know how people will look at that.

Herrod: I guess I would ask the next question would be ... are you fearful at all that this will cause some parents maybe to leave their children at home just because they are gonna have a quick trip to the store and leave their kids, at home, unattended.

Seegmiller: No.

Herrod: See, here's the problem that we have: Do you think this will extend a trip of somebody that is going to California or going through the state? Will this make their trip to California longer?

Seegmiller: I suppose it could.

Herrod: K. And statistically one of the major reasons for car accidents is drowsiness, so if you extend a trip you've actually increased the chances of an accident. Here's the problem that we have with this body. Is many times this body has well-intended reasons, but there's unintended consequences. And since we can't answer whether it's safer for a car to be pulled off the side of the road or safer to be in a car with somebody smoking ... until those answers, those questions can be answered, I don't know if necessarily if we believe ... if we actually know if it is gonna be safer. I would strongly encourage you to not vote for this bill just because those questions haven't been asked, and I am concerned that I don't believe this will necessarily make it safer for any child.

So there it is!  Protecting children form second hand smoke in motor vehicles isn't the issue.  The issue is this bill could make a smoker's drive to California longer if they have children in the car.

More: One Utah: Courtesy of Chris Herrod, A Whole New Flavor of Crazy Comes to the Legislature

1 comment:

Natalie said...

On a completely unrelated note, aor budget problems would be solved if there was a tax on stupid.