WINOOSKI – Several Vermont cell phone owners are reacting negatively to traffic tickets received for texting while driving, saying that any restrictions on mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle are a violation of their constitutional rights. More than a dozen Vermonters have banded together to file a class action suit against the state, which they hope to take all the way to the Supreme Court.
“The 1st amendment protects my speech,” said Addy H. Dee, one of the complainants, “and it doesn’t specify which speech, so it means all speech. There can never be any restrictions placed on how I communicate, because the constitution is very clear in that I have rights. Texting is my right, wherever I am. It doesn’t say ‘except when driving’ or anything.”
“Why are they so scared of what I have to say?” asked another of the ticketed drivers. “Bunch of cowards. I see people driving around eating sandwiches, putting on make-up, and suddenly I can’t text? Make-up isn’t in the constitution, but speech is. If I want to Skype with my mother on my way to work, the document our society was founded upon clearly allows it. There is absolutely no room for interpretation or adjustment when my rights are laid out so clearly. Does it matter that our founding fathers never conceived of cars, let alone cell phones? No. Too bad for them. They should have been more forward thinking. The cops can pry my phone from my cold, dead hands.”
Lawyers for the state argue that not all speech is protected when public safety is a concern, but with precedent stemming from interpretation of the 2nd amendment the class action suit may have a chance to succeed. The government has shown repeatedly that public safety and well being is not an acceptable reason to deny someone unlimited rights as defined by the broadest interpretation possible.
“Also,” said Dee, “I do kind of worship my phone, which makes it kind of like a religion, right? Boom. Double first amendment. Owned.”