Are you kidding?
Reader comment on: Texting While Driving Bans
Submitted by Lummox JR (United States), Sep 28, 2010 15:40
I'm as big an opponent of nanny statism as the next guy, but I'm fully behind bans on using cell phones and texting while driving. The reason: I've seen people drive while doing these things. It's vastly different from fiddling with the radio or A/C, largely because those are usually well-positioned and people are familiar with the locations of the controls, and they require neither the use of both thumbs nor engaging the language centers of the brain. Talking to a passenger or reading billboards are a little better analogy, but they still don't involve a separate act of hand-eye coordination on top of it. Texting, or holding a cell phone to your ear while on a call, involve multiple regions of the brain by necessity.
As for unintended consequences, fine, let's say there is a risk of the ban causing more crashes because people who are already behaving badly behind the wheel and know it are likely to do something even dumber to try to cover it up. Solution: Increase the fines and penalties to the point where they are finally reluctant to engage in their stupid behavior in the first place, or can be banned from the road. A drunk driver may try to hide his beer when he sees a cop, which is just as risky as lowering a phone, but I don't hear anyone clamoring to repeal DWI laws.
The science behind this is dubious anyway. There are multiple factors involved in crashes and the article makes no mention of whether the study simply looked at distracted-driving crashes or all crashes, let alone if they even tried to separate that out by cause of distraction. Although 11 states passed bans last year, the study only picked four of them to look at. It's still possible their overall conclusion is right, but given the behavior I've seen from texters compared to people who change radio stations frequently, I'm all for bringing the hammer down on the texters. There are different levels of distraction and from a simple neurological standpoint it's more than fair to single out texting as a problem.
Note: Comments are moderated by the editor and are subject to editing.
The Future of Capitalism replies:
Does listening to Rush Limbaugh or NPR while driving engage the language center of the brain?
Other reader comments on this item
Comment on this item
Subscribe to the Mailing List