Arrest me now.

12 Apr

I can get arrested for TALKING while holding a cel phone. Wow, what a useful law.

If I understand things correctly, the State of Maryland is well on its way to joining the ranks of Hands-free Cel Phone Use While Driving states. Yeah, I get it. Lots of stats. Accidents from cel phone use, from texting. It’s dangerous. Et cetera. Whatever. But so is putting on make-up while driving, and I don’t see any laws prohibiting that.  So is eating while driving. So is shaving while driving. (Yes, I’ve seen that more than once!) And so is giving or getting a blow job while driving. Or masturbating. Or whatever the heck folk do while driving.

I get it. Disruptive actions can be dangerous on the road. What makes me yawn and roll my eyes is the desire to micro-manage behavior through laws. Thomas Paine said it centuries ago, “Common Sense!” Yo, you can’t legislate common sense. Cultural values are where it’s at. Culture. Peer pressure. Expectations. If it’s socially acceptable to do as this character in the graphic is doing — and it is — then no law singling out one of those behaviors will mean anything. Laws don’t change behavior. People have to want to change to be included, connected, accepted, a part of the tribe. Fer realz.

To boot, all this time, all this tax money. All this administration for laws changed, police work, and so on. And for what? To give tickets out for a specific, identifiable behavior when there are other equally disruptive behaviors that are not, per se, against the law. Yawn.

Yeah, I’ll get my hands-free set, or whatever I need, so that I can be inside the letter of the law while driving and talking on the phone. But they might as well arrest me now. I use my phone for GPS and directions. It’s what I do. Most everyday. So cuff me.

Rock on.

***

Oh, and God, if you’re listening, hey, um, JK on the “arrest me now” bit, cool?

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8 Responses to “Arrest me now.”

  1. Justin Kownacki April 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Agreed. You’d think that listening to talk radio is at least as distracting as listening to your cell phone. Both are audio stimuli in which you’re asked to consider incoming information that has nothing to do with the road. One is legal, one is not. Suits: explain.

    And the “free hands” argument doesn’t hold up either. It only takes one hand to hold a cell phone; it only takes one hand to adjust a radio dial.

    Baltimoreans don’t seem to understand lane demarcations; I sincerely doubt depriving them of their cell phone usage will make much difference in their driving safety.

    • Jessie Newburn April 13, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      thanks, justin, for your thoughtful comment

      it’s been awhile since our paths are crossed but i sure do remember meeting you

      hope you and your sweetheart are finding heart/home/community … and good work … in baltimore and surrounds

      jessie

  2. Anne April 13, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, I completely agree with you. I want the laws to address bad driving , not the actions that led to that bad driving. Whether you’re eating, talking, or rooting around on the floor for something you dropped, it doesn’t matter.

    On the other hand, I’m not overly impressed with people’s ability to use common sense or be responsible about their driving actions. And if it takes some ridiculously specific laws to reduce the risk of somebody crashing into my car with my daughter in the back seat, I’m behind it.

    And back on the first hand – I doubt that a law about specific actions will help much, anyway, because people who aren’t being responsible will continue to find other ways to distract themselves from responsible driving behavior.

  3. Anne April 13, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    the built-in GPS on my car has a legal screen on it. I have to push a button that says “I agree” to the statement telling me how dangerous it is to use the map while driving before I can see the map. In addition, some of the navigation functions are disabled while the car is moving. This drives me NUTS. First of all, only SOME of the functions are disabled. I guess I can use some of them safely, but not others? Second of all, why can’t my passenger be allowed to use those functions for me? That’s why I call the passenger the navigator – that’s their job. In fact, that seat has a sensor in it so that it can flash the seatbelt light if someone is sitting there. Why couldn’t it also enable the navigation functions for the same passenger? The way these laws and liability disclaimers are put in place is so illogical.

  4. Freemarket April 13, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    I’m with Jessie. This bill is little more than theater. If wreckless driving is not illegal enough, then make it more illegal or whatever. But don’t identify single behaviors to ban while there are others that are just as distracting. This bill is absurd.

  5. Harry Schwarz April 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    Anne has it right – this law is to protect us from the nimrods who are paying more attention to their conversation (or god forbid, their chat) than to keeping control of the weapon they are driving. Of course we’ve all seen plenty of other incredibly stupid behavior. Isn’t it good self-defense to try to minimize the behavior that’s most prevalent? I’m all for the new law. Of course, I would outlaw Hummers too, but that’s another story.

  6. Terri April 15, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    Harry:>>Isn’t it good self-defense to try to minimize the behavior that’s most prevalent?>>

    I agree with Harry. In the past five years, I’ve been the victim TWICE of morons on cellphones slamming into me…at RED LIGHTS. (That is, I was sitting at a red light waiting for the green when some self-important moron plowed right into the back of my car because he was too self-involved to consider paying attention to the road.)

  7. Linda Joy Burke October 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    The law works only to the extent that the people believe in the law.

    This is a philosophical discussion, taking a step back from the consequences of not “obeying” the law (ie death or bodily harm, property damage, hiked insurance rates, fines …), and looking at a larger cultural phenomena. Anne you mentioned the concept of “common sense” which it seems has not been perpetuated through generations. Folks regularly run through lights, think turning right on red is a “rite” not a privilege, and pedestrians assuming the “right-of-way” regularly step into traffic with their backs to on coming traffic – head bowed while texting or reading their smart device. It’s like we’ve decided we can shove our heads into our own little passel of sand – and the world will just have to watch out – literally.

    This gives the creative types a problem to solve – make the technology better, because the people who don’t believe in the law won’t stop texting while driving unless they have an immediate and damaging consequence.

    Too bad lack of common sense is responsible for more tension, aggression, frustration, people living in a defensive posture, more laws, cameras, surveillance.

    thanks for sharing jessie

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