Ban On Texting While Driving May Be More Deadly Than Texting While Driving.

An article in the Florida Today newspaper heralds:

In-car texting ban gains following

Issue likely will come up in 2013 Fla. legislature

Pressure is building to add Florida to the list of 39 states that ban texting while driving, but if legislators are waiting on a comprehensive study of the problem, it’s likely not going to happen.

We are not here to dispute that texting while driving is dangerous. It is really dumb when you think about it. In order to text you have to take your eyes off of the road or where the vehicle is going. While texting, a car morphs from a means of transportation to a two ton weapon.

However, while we understand the thinking that banning texting while driving will help lower accident rates, that may not be the case.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 3 of every 4 states that have enacted a ban on texting while driving have seen crashes actually go up rather than down.

If people pause and think about this, the reason is rather easy to understand:

It’s hard to pin down exactly why this is the case, but experts believe it is a result of people trying to avoid getting caught in states with stiff penalties. Folks trying to keep their phones out of view will often hold the phone much lower, below the wheel perhaps, in order to keep it out of view. That means the driver’s eyes are looking down and away from the road.

This appears to be another case of the cure being worse than the disease.

So what to do?

First, people have to be educated. We find it difficult to believe that people don’t recognize and understand the idiocy of texting while driving, but there are plenty of people who don’t.

Secondly, the technology is overtaking the problem. Even now there are apps for cell phones that allow you to speak and have your speech translated into a text message. There are indications within the cell phone industry that “speech to text” features will become standard on cell phones.

While that solution is in the near future, it is still not here in all cases. For some reason people would rather purchase “Angry Birds” rather than a app that can keep them out of an accident and save lives in the process.

The bottom line to us is that passing a law seldom changes people habits. It is only when the individual realizes there is a benefit for themselves that they will modify their behavior.

This once again proves that the government and government regulation of our lives is not the panacea legislators and people think it is.

2 Responses to “Ban On Texting While Driving May Be More Deadly Than Texting While Driving.”

  1. David Omler says:

    My first reaction is to yes create a new law and punish those who have no common sense and cause accidents,as for the past ten years I have lived in constant pain due to someone on a cell phone and driving. You are correct in that education is the key to fighting this problem but sometimes you cannot fix stupid.

    This is not a new problem it is just the high tech version of distracted driving. I am sure everyone has seen the driver reading a newspaper or book while on the interstate and let us not forget those who apply their makeup while driving.

    Like good taste you can not regulate common sense.

    • AAfterwit says:

      David Omler,

      I agree with you that you cannot regulate common sense. There are communities that have tried to say that you cannot have a dog or cat in a car unless they are caged or in a harness that is attached to the seatbelt supports. Presumably this will stop the distraction of Fido sticking their nose out of the window.

      It is a matter of common sense. If you have an activity that you have to accomplish that requires you take your eyes off the road, pull over. How hard is that?

      While we have seen people reading or applying makeup, this story from 2010 may take the cake for “distracted driving:”

      FHP: Driver lacked razor-sharp focus

      As authorities nationwide warn motorists of the dangers of driving while texting, Florida Keys law enforcement officers add a new caution: Don’t try to shave your privates, either.

      Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a two-vehicle crash Tuesday at Mile Marker 21 on Cudjoe Key was caused by a 37-year-old woman driver who was shaving her bikini area while her ex-husband took the wheel from the passenger seat.

      Try and explain that one to the judge.

      Thanks for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.