This morning I was driving to work behind someone who was most definitely a distracted driver. When we got to a light in town and I pulled up next to him, the reason became clear. He was texting on his cell phone.
As many of you know, I constantly bitch about folks who drive and use their cell phones at the same time. When presented with the opportunity, I’ve actually been known to politely (cough, cough) ask these folks to not use their cell phones and drive at the same time. Time for a disclaimer before I continue: I do talk on my cell phone but only in some sort of hands free mode and I do not text or read emails while driving.
Recently there has been some discussion on a total ban on cell phone usage while driving a car. Who are these people kidding? Ain’t gonna happen, no how, no way.
There some towns, cities and states that do have some sort of cell phone use restriction laws on the books, which don’t work because they ain’t enforced. If I were to go stand outside my office, on the corner of Millburn Avenue and Main Street, in a few minutes dozens of cars would drive by with drivers holding their cell phones while talking on the car, which is illegal in the state of New Jersey. Problem is it’s a secondary offense, $100 fine, no vehicle or insurance points assessed, so no teeth in this law. When school lets out, that corner is manned by township police, which does not stop this offense from taking place. They are more concerned with getting the young folks across the street safely, as they should be.
When it comes to these types of issues, my mantra has always been “common sense.” In this case, common sense tell us you cannot stop people from talking on their cell phones while driving. It is now as common as eating, drinking or listening to the radio while driving. Hell, folks driving with their dog in their lap is the craziest and most unsafe thing I can think of, if you want my opinion (and doesn’t everyone want my opinion). The car manufacturers make cars with hands free technology, and millions and millions have dollars have gone into the goods needed so that folks can drive and talk at the same time.
However, common sense also tells us that you cannot be looking at your cell phone and typing on your cell phone while driving a car. If you have ever driven behind someone attempting to do this, the results are pretty obvious. So what should we do? Simple, enforce the existing laws in states that already have them, create new laws where they don’t and put some teeth into. Big fines, points, suspended licenses for multiple offenders.
Now about that doggie in the car window…