Oklahoma Sen. Paul Wesselhoft wants drivers to stop using their cell phones.

Actually, most people probably want drivers to stop using their cell phones — even those who do, in fact, use cell phones when they should be focusing on the road.

But Wesselhoft is willing to go a step farther by proposing legislation that would require a mandatory fine of $1,000 and 20 days in jail if cell phone use is a factor in an accident.

The Moore Republican may have his heart in the right place — seeking to improve public safety — but a law fining people who wreck their cars while using a cell phone may not have much of an effect.

Already in existence is a state law requiring that motorists devote “100 percent of their time to driving.” That law, Wesselhoft points out, is not being enforced.

“Nobody gets stopped for using their cell phones,” he told The Associated Press.

The likely reason for that is police have more important duties than stopping drivers to make them hang up. While Wesselhoft’s proposed law would add financial “encouragement” for drivers to focus on driving, it would not mean anything until after the wreck and whatever damage and injury it causes. And proving a driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident would be problematic for law enforcement.

We all want drivers to focus on the task at hand. But an increase in personal responsibility is the most likely way to accomplish that — and that is quite difficult to legislate.

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