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.

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The Future of Capitalism replies:

Does listening to Rush Limbaugh or NPR while driving engage the language center of the brain?

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Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
Texting while driving are well intentioned however... [123 words]Safe TextingDec 24, 2010 22:48
As a professional driver [89 words]Mr EvilwrenchSep 29, 2010 17:03
more harmless distraction [117 words]equitusSep 29, 2010 16:02
Gloves make it too hard to text while on my motorcycle... [27 words]styrgwillidarSep 29, 2010 12:28
anecdotal evidence [84 words]Old FogeySep 29, 2010 11:36
Where are the millions of accidents [109 words]Tom WadeSep 29, 2010 11:21
"better to regulate outputs than inputs" [109 words]PieFarmerSep 29, 2010 05:08
Really, if this isn't obvious ... [343 words]Long DriverSep 29, 2010 02:49
Add me to the chorus of disagreement [135 words]ChubfuddlerSep 28, 2010 21:22
too many people cant multitask [167 words]FenSep 28, 2010 19:43
Unserious [108 words]JoelSep 28, 2010 18:54
Followup [510 words]Lummox JRSep 28, 2010 18:06
Incentive not to Text while driving. [61 words]W. BourneSep 28, 2010 18:01
it does not follow from the data that texting is relatively safe [115 words]W4LTSep 28, 2010 18:01
checking e-mail is not the same as texting [143 words]deebSep 28, 2010 16:57
OBTW - Nanny State [64 words]lhogSep 28, 2010 16:55
More distracting [94 words]LhogSep 28, 2010 16:48
Cognitive Capture [94 words]JeffSep 28, 2010 16:43
Email is different. [89 words]DagwudSep 28, 2010 16:36
"I don't see how . . ." I do. [98 words]FredBSep 28, 2010 15:48
What is being measured? NOT if texting is going down or not. [175 words]DDSep 28, 2010 15:45
What would you do?
[w/response] [213 words]
Paul SimmonsSep 28, 2010 15:44
⇒ Are you kidding?
[w/response] [353 words]
Lummox JRSep 28, 2010 15:40
Texting IS dangerous while driving! [96 words]chicopantherSep 28, 2010 15:34
Prizes [53 words]JohnSep 28, 2010 15:32
At what point does Nannity become Insanity? [59 words]Owen McCallSep 28, 2010 15:31
Shifting sight and concentration from the road is bad, mmmkay? [72 words]Mark A. FlacySep 28, 2010 15:27
Partly disagree [111 words]DeanSep 28, 2010 15:25
Incentives? Penalties? [36 words]DonMSep 28, 2010 15:18
Texting not much worse than adjusting a/c? [92 words]GeneSep 28, 2010 15:17
Thanks again, NYT! [135 words]FerdSep 28, 2010 15:14
Disagree [81 words]Joe MelnickSep 28, 2010 15:00

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