Getting the finger: Texting. Cell Phones. Driving.
Driving into the New Year, it’s time park and map out plans for 2012.
The National Transportation and Safety Board resolutely believes the intersection of technology, roadways, and human attention span requires a three-way stop. Mechanics aside, they propose a ban on cell phone use and texting while driving.
It’s for the public’s own good.
It will make us safer.
Just like the TSA and airport security? (That has gone so well)
At first glance flying across the windshield, the proposal seems to make sense: less distraction for drivers means fewer “accidents” and lives will be saved. Can’t easily wipe off that.
So simple, but it’s not.
Before putting medal to the petal with this suggestion, consider:
Will actually solve the problem?
What about fighting kids in the back seat? Totally turning around to “straighten things out” means eyes aren’t exactly on the road. And all that exasperatingly annoying whining from back there, who can think? (Hey, NTSB, have you considered suggesting cars would be safer if there were no back seats or back seat passengers? And, win-win, cars could be smaller, lighter, and save fuel. Green Initiative!)
What about front seat passengers with their “turn right here, NOW” or those “It’s not you, it’s me” unexpected conversations? Maybe do like some trucking companies and get rid of passenger seats? (Wow, another win-win Green Initiative: smaller cars, fuel savings, and force groups to use mass transportation.)
And about those drivers allowing their pets to drive by sitting them in their laps? Need to address that. Some dogs need some sort of booster seat to see out well. Need mandates for
hand paw controlled gas pedals and brakes? Something to consider. (Note: Check with the animal rights groups. Don’t want to face litigation about depriving animals of driving rights.)
Then there’s the Road Warriors and commuters who have no choice but to eat in their cars. Unwrapping all those burgers. Grabbing at a tumbling taco. Intercepting dripping burritos. Oh, the trials of staving off starvation. Not to mention hot coffee incidents. OK. How to balance and weigh the medical issues? Low blood sugar vs hospital stays due to accidents?
Even if all that distracting stuff is eliminated, cars still might need to have the interiors stripped for safety:
- Radios? Oh, those steering wheel controls help there.(But the music does make some want to dance instead of drive. Hmmm…)
- GPS with colorful screens and assertive chirping voices? (Re-calculating. Re-calculating)
- Power windows and sunroofs – another worry. (Is that shut all the way? It doesn’t sound shut. Now does it sound shut? How about now? Oh, sorry your hair got caught. Now?)
- Power Seats: always moving entertainment. (Who’s messed with my seat settings? It’s hard to reach the pedals. There. Almost right. A little back support. Oops,too much. Maybe if I sit up a little higher…)
- Don’t forget the power mirrors (Ooopsie, moved the seat, now have to adjust. Oh, I thought that was for the right mirror…).
- Not to mention those polite on-board computers flashing alerts about maintenance issues like oil changes or tire pressure.
All so insistent. So demanding. All commanding immediate attention. Who has time to drive?
That’s not even mentioning the creative ways drivers spend their commutes.
- Catch up on the newspaper. (Or are you attempting to wallpaper your windshield?)
- Finishing the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. (Someone please get him books on tape.)
- Make-up? (One eye on the road, one on that visor mirror. Ouch!)
- And Lady – the one doing her toe nails with her foot propped on the top of the steering wheel – you know who you are. No one likes to be in front of you – or either side either. (Seriously, Lady, how many color changes do you need each week?) We know which car you drive and we ALL move away from you as fast as possible.
Just can’t legislate good sense.
In fact it may actually harm humans’ decision-making abilities. Pretty soon, the reason for not texting or using the cell phone would be: it’s against the law. (Instead of thinking and realizing it’s a dangerous thing to do.)
Passing a law prohibiting something. THAT is so successful in getting people to stop doing things? Like having a ban on open alcoholic beverage containers inside cars. That stopped drunk driving incidents, right? Next.
Well, a law would give teenagers something else to rebel against. (Woo-whoo! Another opportunity to defy parents!)
While passing such a law attempts to protect against dire consequences, people just don’t seem to learn if nothing bad happens to them as a result of their own actions.
Yeah, like someone choosing to drink and drive, or people choosing not to wear seat belts, lives may be lost because someone decides to use the phone or text instead of paying attention. Teachable moment. Use the opportunity, people.
Of course, driving accidents also remove a few less than bright humans from the gene pool (That sounded a little harsh)
Oh, that’s just silly.
That National Transportation and Safety Board is just full of zingy things. Maybe this proposal came from zooming thoughts fueled by getting-ready-for-the-holdiays lack of sleep, Irish coffee, and too many sugar plums. A zealous”be your brothers’ keeper” concept taken to the extreme.(Only out of caring!)
Reminds me of an old joke
A Boy Scout tried to earn a badge by assisting a granny crossing the street. Only granny, in reality, was trying to go home in the other direction. She protested loudly. But the Boy Scout, thinking she had “diminished capacity”, and doing his best to do a good deed, just ignored her and powered her “safely” across to the other side of the street. So funny, isn’t it? Going to help you whether you need it or not.
Oh, well, the light for cell phones is currently amber.
Honk, if you’re happy!
(But pay attention now.)
Madly driving – or driving madly?
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge