Cell phone blocking technology is illegal in the United States. But if it were legal, we would see it deployed in many different ways. The government may require it in cars to cut down on distracted driving, yes, that's true. But many other private entities will deploy it for other reasons: restaurants to provide a nice dining atmosphere, movie theaters to ensure silence during the film, convention centers, sporting events, political events.
Indeed, if cell phone blocking technology were deployed, I suspect it would be deployed in these venues before the government starts demanding they're installed in cars.
What will the Libertarians say about the movie theater blocking your cell phone signal to ensure a quiet house? My guess is that they'll support it. We'll hear about property rights. We'll hear about rational choice. We'll hear about efficient markets and all the other hoodoo they believe.
But if the government blocks your cell phone signal to cut down on road deaths, then we'll hear nothing but crying over coercion and Big Brother is Watching You and all kinds of other nonsense. Not because they're against cell phone blockers in principal, just when the government does it.
If your philosophy allows private entities to infringe freedom to ensure silence, but does not allow public entities to infringe the very same freedom to avoid preventable deaths then I say your philosophy is "mostly useless." It provides no guide to life more complex than "government bad, private good," which sadly many Libertarians may feel is not an unfair distillation of their views.
All of this is a lengthy preamble to this bit on Radley Balko's blog:
The Obama administration is pushing a federal ban on any use of a cell phone while driving. So I’ll be unfolding a map over the steering wheel when I get lost instead of pulling up my phone’s GPS. Much safer.Here's an idea: Figure out where you're going before you leave. Lost? Need to use your GPS? Pull over and use it. Get a passenger to do it. Do the smart thing. If you're behind the wheel, focus on driving. If everyone did that, we wouldn't need laws like this. Right?