Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes, you just have to legislate against stupidity

When I first heard about it, I ranted and raved (offline, I didn't post about it) against McGuinty's plan to ban cell phone use in the car. As a local politico, and as an IT guy who gets support calls, I was annoyed that the government was going to implement such a ban. I mean, I talk on my cell in the car all the time, and I've very cautious and careful to pay extra attention when I'm doing so. I figured this was just another instance of the "Nanny State" interfering in the lives of it's citizens, so naturally, I was opposed to it.

Then, over the last two or three weeks, something most unusual has happened... I've actually become a SUPPORTER of the new "distracted driving" law. Why, you may ask? It's quite simple, really... sometimes, when the average person around you won't govern their own conduct appropriately, you DO have to legislate common sense.

No kidding, these last three weeks, I've seen some of the most idiotic people all around me, on their phones, barely paying attention at all while driving. Like the moron in the maroon F-150 on the 401 the other day, yacking on the phone, obviously looking for some paperwork on his passenger seat, while drifting over into my lane. Or the girl behind me at the red light, head back, staring at the roof, twirling her hair, not even paying attention to anything else around us. Or the guy puttering along on the major road, holding up traffic while gabbing away, gesturing with his hands too. Seriously, it's like just in this last few weeks, a new crop of cell phones have suddenly grown out of people's ears. And I've seen more people doing really dumb things while on their phones in the last three weeks than I've seen in the last three years.

I'm not a fan of government intervention, when all that's really required is for people to use some common sense. But when I see people refusing to use common sense, and it's putting the rest of us in jeopardy, then I don't have an issue with legislating it.

Besides... I caved and got a Bluetooth, so I'm good. (and don't forget... I'm NOT a Libertarian)

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  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 12:11:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger The Mound of Sound said…

    Motorcyclists know better than anyone that drivers with cell phones are a lethal hazard. Car drivers have enough trouble remaining alert enough to see motorcyclists when they're not yapping on phones. Cell phones render them utterly blind. I'm not saying this to be facetious. It's been well studied. That's why smart bikers take training that teaches them 'conspicuity' - how to force car/SUV/truck drivers to see you.

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 12:34:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous A Nonny mouse said…

    Let evolution do it's job, stop legislating against stooopid

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 01:04:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Ray K. said…

    So, what do you think this legislation will accomplish?

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 01:24:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger The Mound of Sound said…

    Evolution would be a great answer IF natural selection was causing cell phone nitwits to take themselves out but that's not how it works. Besides, I don't think this is the right site to be preaching evolution.

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 02:38:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger The Mound of Sound said…

    Ray, what do you think removing ANY distraction will accomplish? Your question is, well, silly.

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 04:07:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous A Nonny Mouse said…

    Many a Christain has been able to deal with evolution and God. Intelligent Design anyone?

  • At Thu. Apr. 30, 09:39:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous climatecriminal said…

    c'mon, intelligent design? thats been exposed as an invention of creationists so lets not bring up that nonsense; as for the phone ban, there was really no need for a law, careless driving would cover it when warranted;

  • At Fri. May 01, 12:00:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Ray K. said…

    Silly eh? How about instead of extrapolating to extremes you just answer the question? How many drivers that are not paying attention to the road are going to start because of this law? How much less attention will a biker need to pay because of this law? The plural of anecdote is not evidence.

  • At Fri. May 01, 12:30:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good post! The great tragedy of this sort of issue is summed up by the following quote:

    "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
    ~Douglas Adams

    Is there a way to insulate ourselves from the dim side of human nature? I am pessimistic.

    (CC: but you are an economic libertarian though, which is likely fodder for another post, maybe along the lines of pros/cons of the CPC's need for a "big tent" which might need to camp libertarians (and red tories) together with social conservatives..)

  • At Fri. May 01, 02:19:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger James Bow said…

    I don't know. Yes, it has been pointed out that sometimes talking on the cellphone while driving makes you a greater threat to yourself and others than driving while drunk. Of course, you can put down the cellphone, and you can't sober yourself in an instant.

    And as others have pointed out, this legislation doesn't cover all idiocies, such as the individuals a number of bloggers have seen applying make-up while driving. And the one tale I heard from my father about noticing a couple in the next car having _sex_ while driving. Cellphones seem to be a bit of a scapegoat; something the government can do to look like it's doing something productive.

    Perhaps a better approach would be to run more public service announcements on the threat of driving while distracted (a similar campaign against drunk driving did as much to change public attitudes as rigourous enforcement). Then, change the legislation so that if it is found that the accident occurred while one of the drivers was distracted (such as talking on a cellphone -- it should be pretty easy to tell if a cellphone was being used at the time of the accident), then declare that driver to be at fault, and double or triple his penalties. Thoughts?

  • At Sun. May 03, 10:09:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Certainly some good points there James. Having just got out of the car from an eight hour drive, I think I'm more inclined to agree with you... rather than just going for the low hanging fruit (ie - cell phone use) they could try launching an all out effort on distracted driving. In fact, I think it's needed now more than ever.

  • At Mon. May 04, 02:56:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like the argument about placing cell-phone use under a careless driving umbrella.

    I see a parallel between "speeding" and "racing". Having a separate charge for going "X" of miles faster than allowed is just silly. When speeds get to be that high, careless/reckless driving should also be applied.

    We need better laws, not more laws

    Mike Wisniewski


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