|Sign proudly displayed on the Cleveland|
Police Department's homepage.
That latest trend in state and local government seems to be making it illegal to "text while driving." Many people just nod their heads and agree that it's probably a good idea to do so. Not me, I think it's insidious over-stepping of government authority, and a veiled flavor of ageism. (Pam says I'm just crotchety and complain too much!)
Why am I against laws specifically blocking "texting" while driving?
- They're redundant. We already have broad "distracted driving" laws. Adding new laws that cover the same thing is just political chest-pounding.
- They misname the problem. I'm likely not "texting" while at the red light. I am Googling directions and twittering an update about where I'm going. Calling it "texting" is just a way for older generations to try and stereotype distracted driving as a problem brought on by young drivers.
- Singling out mobile phone use as a cause of automobile denies the significance of other, similar distractions. If we really wanted to get serious about distracted driving, we'd more heavily regulate radar detectors, GPS units(especially aftermarket), cupholders, drive-through fast food, passengers, and audio systems. I'm personally aware of more, thankfully minor, motor vehicle accidents involving acquaintances, where a driver was using these items, and not just a mobile phone. (For the record, I'm not encouraging more regulation of any of these items.)
Common sense, driving or anywhere else, should always be encouraged. I'm just uncomfortable anytime I see our government attempt to legislate it.