The distracted driver issue is heating up in DC and state capitals all across North America. It seems that we need a law to tell us not to talk or text on a cell phone while driving. Are we really not smart enough to know that it is dangerous to do some things while sitting behind a steering wheel of a ton of steel?
People do all sorts of distracting things while driving. You have probably witnessed some yourself. Where do you think all those people backed up in fast food drive through windows are going to eat those meals? How many dog owners can actually control their animals in a moving vehicle? And some even hold their dogs in their laps while talking on a phone and taking a sip of their soft drink. Amazing. They must be super human!
There is a scientifically proven condition called “innattentional blindness” that shows that the human brain can really only concentrate on one thing at a time. If drivers are doing anything distracting, like talking with a friend, or having an argument with their passenger (we’ve all seen that one too), then they are only seeing 50% of the other things around them. So which 50% of the road are you driving on when that person is coming at you at 70 mph? This is a great little video to demonstrate.
I’m guilty. I’ve pulled out my cell phone to call home when I am on a stretch of clear highway. But come on, should you really have a cell phone propped up on your shoulder and ear while pulling into rush hour traffic? Can’t you just finish the call before you start the car?
While cell phone use is not the only distraction while driving, many states are making it a traffic violation. Probably due to all the traffic deaths that are attributed to texting while driving. Yet only 10 states have banned hand held cell phones by all drivers. It is nice to know that 19 states have banned school bus drivers from using cell phones while driving with passengers (our children). That’s nice. The map below gives you a bit of overview of who has laws on the books.
So what is your opinion? I know it is a fine line between freedom and safety. There is always a proper place and time for everything. And if you crash into my car because you are holding your dog in your lap while taking a bite of your hamburger and looking up a phone number, I will begin to wonder if it should be illegal to be stupid!