NTSB In Vegitative State After Head-on Collision With Human Nature
By now you’ve heard about the NTSB’s call for a national ban on texting and all non-emergency phone calls while driving. There can be no reasonable argument in support of texting while driving, but suggesting a ban on all phone calls is not only unrealistic to an absurd level, it’s also dead wrong.
That there remain 14 states who do not ban texting outright is scandalous. Seven of them ban texting only for new and/or young drivers. (Among these, Texas also calls out bus drivers when a passenger 17 and younger is on board and drivers in school-crossing zones.) Seven others have no laws on the books at all. All fourteen of these states should be immediately excised from the Union. Alternately, for each year they neglect to pass a ban, all residents not voting or voting no should be made to choose a family member for execution by crushing. In addition, the mandatory minimum jail sentence for texting while driving should be life without parole for a first offense.
Not quite as scandalous is the number of states who still don’t require hands-free calling. In fact, only ten states plus DC have that law on their books. A few have partial bans but a full thirty-five don’t believe it’s a good idea to have two hands on the steering wheel while driving. That’s what it comes down to. Pure insanity.
When cell phones were newly ubiquitous and hands-free devices weren’t quite up to par, it was a coin toss whether or not to penalize drivers. Today, however, even the lowest priced wired headsets deliver acceptable quality both incoming and outgoing. There’s no longer any reason for those forty states to delay banning all but hands-free conversations. The NTSB could have a positive impact here but instead, in its bureaucratic, reactionary fervor, it’s chosen to throw the baby-on-board out with the bathwater.
They’re frustrated. I get that. People are dying every day unnecessarily. But the answer isn’t to overreact. Rather than seeking an outright ban, suggest that law enforcement re-prioritize. Suggest that sitting on the side of the road with a radar gun may not be the best use of their time. That actively searching out texters or non-hands-free callers will make the roads far safer. Make the point that speeders aren’t the cause of most deaths on the road or incidences of road rage. Rather, it’s bad drivers – like those who impede traffic by refusing to keep right unless passing – who are the root of nearly all evil on the highway.
Suggest that more money can be earned through ticketing bad drivers – texters, non-hands-free-ers, impeders – than by ticketing speeders. That by ticketing – at ever higher fines – drivers who refuse to use turn signals will have their cities’ coffers overflowing with cash. That in ticketing the truly distracted – like drivers applying make-up – they’ll be making the world a safer, saner place for everyone.
Hey NTSB, light a fire for common sense.