I m texting ths blog while drivin thru a roundabout
June 2, 2009 —
“Hey r u reading? I m doing 50 through Avon rndabouts right now bfor guv ritter makes txting illegal this December.
“Key is to keep Iphone b low dashboard so cops don’t c me.
“And reli heavy on autocorrecct.
“Have 2 go … just drove thru median and smshed into BC gatehouse.”
While the above message is (quasi) fictional, it’s also not too far a cry from what I’ve seen from friends, relatives, and in one case a Mexican cab driver who insisted on texting while rocking 80 kph from San Cristobal to Tuxtla while I was down there for a wedding last spring.
Moments before plunging into the rio, I asked the driver to alta the car and por favor text from the side of the road before we ended up muerto all over his windshield.
He acquiesced (despite my rotten Spanish) and I returned safely to the United States, only to find the texting-while-driving syndrome had grown even worse domestically.
So how do we handle problems like this in Coloradey? Do we take responsibility for our actions and all personally vow to stop texting while driving?
Do we all speak up and make texting while driving socially unacceptable?
Do we pass a law that is almost impossible to enforce and will likely be ignored, dismissed, and averted by the populace at large?
Gov. Ritter signed an almost meaningless bill into law Monday, June 1, which will make it a CRIME to send a text message while driving in your car, officially adding to the incredibly long list of laws that we are all destined to break at some point during our lives, if not often.
Busted, and we will pay a $50 fine … which I imagine will increase as soon as an activist group gets together and demands more stringent government action (I’m guessing a group called MATT – Mothers Against Teen Texting. Their motto: “If it can save ONE life!” will guide them when they storm the capital sometime soon).
Like most laws, this will only drive the action in question underground. Or, in this case, under the dashboard, where those addicted to communicating with thumb taps will be forced to lower their mobile device lapward, typing with one hand, staring downward and upward in hurried glances.
What’s interesting about this law is not its inevitable ineffectiveness, nor its lack of ability to do anything concrete in the way of lowering the rate of traffic accidents, but rather that once again our society is counting on the fatherly hand of the law to shepherd us through the dangerous daily act of existing.
Apparently we need cops – not parents, friends, relatives, or other drivers – to go out there and do the impossible dirty work of forcing people to stop making ill-informed decisions.
How are police supposed to accomplish this? Will they have “text-radar” guns that will capture all texters on I-70? Will they x-ray our cars as we speed past the employee housing on our way to our gated communities? Will they cross-reference our text phone records with geo-tagged microchips implanted in every citizen's neck?
All we have gained is yet another unenforceable rule which does almost nothing for the populace at large.
Except, possibly, raise the fines collected by police each year as they unravel fender benders in this roundabout and beyond.
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