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.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Driving While Texting Bans Starting To Take Off”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
endojoe says:


Sodomy laws end up being enforced somehow too…I don’t have to be looking to text personally, it’s like changing the radiostation…or talking…oh wait…talking on the phone is against the law too…unless I’m ‘singing along with the radio’ on my hands free…prove any of it. But we’ll all still have to pay the law sharks on both sides of the case. Lets all go be Lawyers, the only ones who always win with this shit.

Joseph Durnal (user link) says:

Common Sense

I almost back ended someone recently while checking the blackberry. I wasn’t sending, just checking to see what all the buzzing was about, but taking my eyes off the road for just a second or two caused me not to notice right away that the cars in front of me were stopping for no good reason and I had to hit the breaks pretty hard. I figured that reading the blackberry wasn’t such a good idea. Now, I at least wait until I’m stopped at a light! Do they need laws for this sort of thing? I don’t think so, I think most folks have a little more common sense than we give them credit for. Besides, there are a lot more distractions than text messages etc.

Solo says:

We the People

Ban children in cars.
Ban radios.
Ban pets.
Ban nose picking.
Ban ear picking.
Ban scratching.
Ban itching.
Ban eating.
Ban drinking.

But to make us the safest, we should ban the greatest danger of all:

Ban driving.

We elect the politics to serve us, not to treat us like children that need protection despite our own will.

Unfortunately that is the theory. Practically, politics belong to a different cast, that is to many of us, entitled to treat us like children.

One would think that with the power to vote, people would know better and make better choices. Wrong again.

poster says:


They need to please pass a law banning women putting on make-up while they’re driving.
And I’m a woman, so don’t say I’m being sexist. Besides, I’ve never seen a man putting on make-up while driving, whereas I’ve been in several near misses with women who’ve been doing it.

Okay, but seriously, what do you guys think would actually work in getting people to stop texting/putting on make-up/reading newspapers (I almost got into an accident with a woman who was reading a newspaper while driving, she had the entire thing open and set on her steering wheel as she drove) while driving? Since no one likes the laws…what might work?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...