Driving While Texting Bans Starting To Take Off
from the what's-next...? dept
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that the Washington state legislature was considering a ban on driving while texting, and now some politicians in New Jersey want to see the same for their state. Of course, these laws are just the latest in a long strong of laws that are designed to make it illegal to drive while distracted. Except, of course, you can’t have a blanket law that makes it illegal to be distracted — that would be impossible — so legislatures are trying to accomplish this in piecemeal fashion, going after one distraction at a time. The state assemblyman behind the New Jersey ban doesn’t seem to have a good understanding of text messaging, since he claims it requires drivers to completely take their eyes off the road, which many people who send text messages would probably dispute. Furthermore, his own data in support of the law undermines his claim. According to the research he cites, one in five drivers has dashed out a text message while driving (you might want to take the figures with a grain of salt, since it’s not clear where they’re coming from). But if that were true, then you’d expect a lot more SMS-related accidents, if it really is as dangerous as he claims. Of course, this debate really misses the bigger point: it make sense for the police to flag drivers that are driving recklessly, but since there are so many possible distractions, from screaming children in the back seat to distracting billboards, going after these things on a case-by-case basis doesn’t make much sense.