I am the King of Siam, Yes I Am

18 Jul

Funny how life takes you on a journey, and one day to the next you never know where that journey will lead you.  I am back to share my insight into the joys of modern day living.

A while back, I brought up the subject of texting and then law making.  As I explained there, one of the problems we face with lawmakers is the fact that those who pass laws are fallible themselves and we must be slow to passing laws.  Not only does society have the problem of leadership fallibility but a question of leadership itself.  In addition, when you add the quick nature modern society is changing as it adjusts to current changes, you have a recipe for problems to arise.

California was one of the first to pass an anti-texting law.  And as usual people applauded the move and many guaranteed lives would be saved.  However, a funny thing happened, the laws did not work.  Not only did they not work, they actually increased accidents.

Researchers examined data from California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington in the months preceding and following the anti-texting implementation. In three of the four states, the number of accidents caused by distracted driving actually increased. And this correlation may be blamed on drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 — 45 percent of this demographic admit to texting in spite of the bans. And in all four states, the number of crashes involving these young drivers increased.

As I have said many times before the problem is not one caused by a single distraction, but is caused by drivers who are not properly trained to drive with distractions.  Moreover, what leaves this writer scratching his head is why we needed a law, when we have distracted driving laws on the book.  Nevertheless, more states followed and more whack-a-mole laws became statutes.  Moreover, as I pointed out before the laws were thinly thought out legislation that did not think of changing technology.  In fact, the legislation seem to only look at the negatives of technology versus their positives.  As pointed out before, safety innovations in automobiles coming from technology are going to save more than kill.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise when this news item popped up on my horizon yesterday, but sadly, it did.

Starting Jan. 1, cops will allow you to send, dictate and listen to text messages while driving, but only if you’re using a separate, voice-activated device that’s connected to your phone — something like a headset or Bluetooth earpiece or a program inside your car like OnStar. Just turn on the device, say “text mom” and talk out the message. If your mom is driving, her earpiece will blurt out the message.

Add to that message this amazing revelation:

On Friday, after much head-scratching and acknowledging nobody in (Assemblyman) Miller’s office owns a Siri-equipped iPhone 4S, the assemblyman’s aides concluded it will still be illegal to use your actual phone to text behind the wheel — even by speaking the message directly into Siri.

Add to that:

“The larger trend is that these laws get passed pretty quickly or by people who don’t understand the technology,” said Glenn Abel, whose Hands-Free Info website has been tracking distracted driving laws around the nation for five years. “And they’re finding that once they get these laws into the field, there are problems, so they come back and try to fine-tune everything.”

Again, we have lawmakers who keep showing repeatedly their lack of understanding of what they are legislating.  Again, I have to ask why distracted driving laws are not enough to handle the issue.  While I will agree that texting is a dangerous pursuit while driving, so is any other distraction behind the wheel.  Moreover, that brings up the question of why we have laws that nitpick one negative over another.  This kind of lawmaking only further takes us away from safety instead of towards it.  This kind of thinking from lawmakers allows drivers to say to themselves “I’m safe brushing my teeth, reading a book as long as I’m not speeding or texting.”


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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Driving, Law


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