23
Dec
07

Drivin’ & Yakkin’

The UK is ratcheting up their pressure on folks who insist on chatting it up while trying to pilot a car. Unlimited fines and up to two years in jail! And a motorist in Chicago was fined and got a temporary license suspension in Chicago for doing the same thing. As Ars Technica discusses, figuring out a solution to this distracting issue is going to be complex and contentious.

I think that many of us have witnessed “impaired” talkers behind the wheel. Weaving back and forth across lanes as they try to dial a number, missing turns because they were engaged in some conversation that was more important than driving a two ton leviathan down the lane, pulling out in front of you with not so much as an inkling that you were even there… Yep, talking on the phone can be a recipe for disaster. And let’s be honest, those wireless headsets don’t help. They just make you look silly. Yes, it is irresponsible action that can have major consequences. But does it need to be legislated away? And if so…

What about eating while driving? Applying make up? Brushing your hair, shaving, adjusting your tie, lighting a cigarette,¬†checking your teeth in the rear view mirror? How about reading the newspaper while driving in on your morning commute (don’t laugh, my wife sees it every day)? Forget talking on the phone… how about texting? Quieting unruly children? Arguing with the passenger(s). Ogling the hot woman in the short shorts walking down the sidewalk? All of these are as potentially dangerous as talking on the phone while driving. Shouldn’t we have laws against this? Of course not. We should have laws against careless/reckless driving (we actually do) and enforce those. If a law enforcement type sees you driving irresponsibly, you should get a ticket, fine, suspension, whatever. If you cause an “issue” and were “impaired” with a phone or a Big Mac, your punishment should be increased. Forget new laws. Use the old ones. They work just fine if we’d actually enforce them.

As for me… I have a teenaged daughter who is starting to drive. Turning her vehicle into a giant roving Faraday cage seems like a pretty good idea.

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