Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TXT ban is snf

I never thought I would be saying this about a safety bill, but the bill that is making it's way to the House of Delegates, banning people from text messaging while driving, is one of the dumbest bills that I have seen and should be defeated.

While text messaging is a definite danger while driving, I would have liked this bill to address talking while holding a cell phone as well. As I observed going into work this afternoon, a gentleman in Kenilworth Avenue was going well below the posted speed limit in DC because he was holding a cell phone. What he was doing was very much illegal in DC.

I find it amazing that for two years, legislators balked at the idea of banning hand held cell phones while driving, with one legislator proposing to ban GPS systems as well. However, they are more than willing to ban text messaging while driving. That is ridiculous, especially if you own a smartphone, like I do, where the numbers are apart of the keyboard.

Overall, I do not know if people can distinguish between texting and dialing a number. I think before the House gets ahead of itself, I think they should look at the other danger on the road, hand held cell phone conversations.


Greg Kline said...


I saw a guy eating a Big Mac while driving. Let's ban that too!

How about drinking a soda and driving? Ban it!

Really rockin' out? Ban it!

Yelling at your iPod while listening to the Kenny Burns Podcast?

How about enforcing the laws we have and holding people personally responsible rather than having the General Assembly being our nannies on the road.

D. C. Russell said...

I've been trying to figure out what to start writing to focus a spotlight on the tyrannical control freaks in Annapolis who have made Maryland The UNFREE State, dead last in the recent report on personal freedom.

And also trying to think of proposals to give them some of their own medicine--perhaps surveillance cameras in their offices and and anywhere they meet --bribers-- lobbyists.

Or how about testing equipment in the house and senate chambers to make such they aren't guilty of legislating while drunk?

And of course we should ban phones from the chambers to ensure that they give their full attention to legislating rather than soliciting --bribes-- campaign funds or checking with the people who have bought their votes.

P. Kenneth Burns said...

Greg, I'm glad that you liked my podcast.

But in all seriousness, I think we have to point out the reasonable to the nanny state. As a former traffic reporter, I have seen more unsafe driving from people having conversations on a hand-held cell phone than I have eating a Big Mac, rockin' out to Bruce Hornsby's Spider Fingers or yelling at my Sansa player during the Conservative Refuge.

I'm all for enforcing the the current laws, that's no question. My problem with this law in particular, besides being too broad, is that it does not address the hand-held cell phones.

I think we have to come to a point where we have to say, yes this needs to be addressed without going off on a tangent.

I don't see restricting hand-held cell phones while driving as a personal freedom issue, but a safety issue. This bill in particular does a dos-i-do around the actual issue because I would not be surprised if legislators did indeed talk on a hand held cell phone while driving.

Chester Peake said...

I know it was mentioned before that the cop would not be able to tell if you are texting, e-mailing, or calling on the phone by typing in the name of someone on your contacts list. I guess Twitterring or Facebooking would be the same.

If the police do not subpeoena the verizon/t-mobile/ATT/etc. records each time they accuse someone of this crime, they are liable to have it thrown out if the accused has a good lawyer. Only those records could tell if the timestamped communication was one (legal) technology or another (illegal) one.

What ever happened to personal responsibility? If you cause a wreck you are charged, do not cause one and you just get another kind of "digital communication" from the guy you almost hit, with his middle digit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot. The roads are meant as a platform for the expression of each individual's personal freedom.

It's not a path to be travelled as safely as possible.

So no restrictions, baby.

Chester Peake said...

Either they need to have no restrictions, or restrict ALL distractions. This inconsistency is for the Birds (and I don't mean the Orioles or Ravens)!

Outlawing all distractions would end school busses, or the hooligans they carry would have to be in a sound-proofed section away from the driver. I don't know how those drivers do it, they deserve (almost) AIG-sized bonuses for putting up with the stuff they do.

Bruce Godfrey said...

Most people cannot text, steer, shift, watch the rear view mirrors, their flanks, what's in front of them AND translate "did u hr Jenny kissed David OMG LOL" into English on a matchbook-sized screen. Some can, just as some can drive drunk; most cannot. We jail drunk drivers because they often kill and maim people. I would think that a conservative would seek to reduce, not tolerate benignly, a new source of tort liability and catastrophic damage claims upon our economy as a whole.

It's not nanny-state behavior for the state to prevent A from inflicting violent, unpredictable, uncontrollable and undetectable risks on B when B includes anyone in or adjacent to the public thoroughfare. Or so I would respectfully maintain. Peace to all.