Thursday, September 30, 2010

If ur drvng, rd ths l8r

So what do you get for my 900th post? Texting while driving!!!

Massachusetts' texting-while-driving ban goes into effect today. Long and short, you can get a ticket if you are texting while operating a moving vehicle, and if you are under 18, you can lose your license if you get caught texting while driving.

Several thoughts:

First of all, I have seen this referred to twice this morning as "The state's controversial new texting ban." Controversial? Really? You mean to tell me that there is a single person who doesn't think this is a good idea? I gotta be honest...this is just about the least controversial new law I can remember. NOBODY thinks this is a bad idea. I think that maybe our news sources could use some vocabulary lessons...

Second, the police have announced openly that they will be "targeting younger drivers", which of course makes lots of sense. They send more texts, are less experienced drivers and get distracted more it is perfectly logical to focus on younger drivers. My question is this: why is it OK in this instance to target a specific group, but we consider it an affront to the founding fathers to do this in other situations?

There are obvious profiling extensions of this in other areas of law enforcement, but in the interest of not trivializing those, I will just focus this on older drivers. Every time some crone in a 22 foot long Buick barrels into a convenience store because they forgot which is the brake and which is the gas, someone notes that maybe, just maybe, we should re-test drivers past a certain age...and, the AARP threatens legal action and the blue hairs throw a collective fit about how unfair their lives are. So why can we point out the obvious about younger drivers, but not acknowledge the safety risks caused by deteriorating mental and physical faculties?

And finally, while we are at it, should we think about some other activities that cause significant road safety dangers? Eating, talking on the phone, doing makeup, reading and writing...I have seen people do all of these and a whole lot more on the highway. I don't mean to sound pious, as I am as guilty as anyone is. I have texted, and I eat while I drive all the time. Heck, on long car rides, I usually turn on cruise control and fold my legs up underneath me in the drivers may notice that I am maybe not quite prepared to stop on short notice like that...

My point (do I ever really have a point?) is that I am glad we have begun the process of examining the activities of people while driving. Maybe it is the obviously looming prospect of a new driver in the house...but I really don't have a problem with applying some common safety sense via statute.

[Note...according to Blogger, "texting" and "texted" are not words. Umm...seriously Google?]


Jen said...

Know what my problem with this new law is? No, you probably don't. ;-) My problem is it addresses TEXTING while driving. Um... we're about four years outdated on this. What about BlackBerry Messaging while driving? What about updating Facebook statuses while driving? What about E-MAILING while driving? None of this falls under the texting umbrella but is just as, if not more, dangerous.

Get with the times, legislature.

Kathleen said...

I always say the same thing about the senior citizens issue. Doesn't make any sense to put (valid)restrictions on the younger group if the older group is just as unsafe.

Windy City Kelley's said...

I wish this law would pass in our area. It was a law in Chicago, and was so nice, but not here in Dallas yet.

Accidentally Me said...

Jen, I think the law is not text-specific, but rather says something about using hand-held devices while driving...I know some people have complained that you could simply tell the cops that you were dialing the phone, but that is illegal in all but a very small number of towns, too.

Ys said...

This has been law in the UK for ages ;) And you're not allowed to smoke and drive. I'm all for it. Having travelled with an easily-distracted boyfriend (now husband - now older and less stupid in the car too ;D) I can see how easily accidents happen in the car.

I'm super happy to read one of your ranty posts, by the way. As a fellow ranter: I've missed them :)

Thisisme said...

This law was recently implemented in GA. Unfortunately, "the experts" have announced that there have been more "hand held related accidents/fatalities" since the law has been enforced. They are attributing it to the fact that drivers are more concerned with getting caught and are now placing their phones "out of sight", impeding their ability to focus on the road even more! It has become quite the discussion among our running candidates!

. . .on a side note. While stopped at a red light the other day (which can run between 1 & 5 minutes during rush hour, depending where you are), an OH SO LOVELY GENTLEMAN, noticed me texting and yelled out his window that I was a “dumb blonde C WORD for not obeying the law”! Apparently the new law has imposed in even more ways and increased ROAD RAGE!!