In Case You're An Idiot: Canada Wants To Make It Illegal To Play Video Games While Driving

from the who-writes-this-stuff? dept

In the past, we've pointed out how silly it was for various politicians to go about banning very specific actions for drivers. There are a ton of distractions for drivers, and you're never going to successfully outlaw all of them. But it doesn't stop politicians from trying. Earlier this year, we asked for suggestions on what else politicians might try to ban while driving (beyond earlier bills that were put forth in various legislatures trying to ban using a laptop, using OnStar, faxing and (everyone's favorite) having sex while driving.

The latest is up in Canada, where a bill on driver distractions includes a ban on playing portable video game systems. While my first thought was whether or not this means it would still be legal to hook up a console gaming system and play it, that thought was quickly erased by the most basic question of all: who doesn't already recognize that you should not be playing a handheld video game while driving? I mean, if we're going to start banning totally theoretical dangerous driving activities, I'd like to throw juggling while driving onto the list. That's gotta be distracting. We must ban it. To save our children, of course.

Of course, to highlight how ridiculous this law is, it says it's okay for you to change stations on the radio while driving -- but you would be fined for skipping a song on your iPod. Why the distinction? Who knows. Reporters, sensing the ridiculousness of the situation, questioned a supporter of the new bill, asking him if it would be illegal to change songs on your iPod if the iPod were taped to the dash, like a radio. His response? "I would have to look at that one," while then noting "the proposed law is fairly general with details to come." Ah, so let's rush into passing a law, and then we'll work out the details of what the law actually means later?

Filed Under: canada, distracted driving, ipods, radio

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  1. identicon
    Kevin, 31 Oct 2008 @ 6:36am


    The bill is against the use of portable electronic devices while driving. For example, cell phones, text messaging, and yes iPods. To be clear, changing the tune on your iPod is far more distracting than tuning the radio. Radios can be tuned by ear not requiring the driver to take his/her eyes off the road, whereas and iPod requires the driver to read a list of information and scroll through the song choices often at length until they find the song/album they wish to listen to. The distraction of radio tuning is further reduced by on wheel radio controls. Speaking to the distraction of the iPod I have witnessed a driver in Toronto scrolling through a list of songs on their iPod rear end another vehicle at a stop light because they weren't paying attention. To be fair he wasn't moving very quickly but it clearly demonstrates the possibility for inattention.

    While I agree that to safely pilot a motor vehicle ought to be the responsibility of the driver, drivers are clearly failing in this regard. Enough so that laws like this have to be introduced because people are idiots. I would prefer that the language be encompassing enough to just say, you must devote your full attention when driving, without having to single out electronic devices. But because law is what it is today there will always be someone who can argue the law was too vague and the charges should be dropped. So we have a law that is really specific, to the point of absurdity, and leaves giant gaps of stupidity for people to fall into.


    P.S. I would imagine portable gaming was included because the latest batch of iPod's are quite capable of similar functions.

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