Thursday, July 30, 2009

Caution: Stupid at work ...

For anyone who wondered whether New York State's legislative bodies were completely worthless, we got our answer. And it's a resounding yes.

That answer came in the form of a new law banning texting while driving. Now, some of you may think that a ban on texting while driving is a good thing. Personally, I think the ban itself is silly, but that's not the part that's stupid.

The real stupidity is that the legislature - in their infinite wisdom - decided to make the texting ban a "secondary law." Basically, you can't be pulled over for texting while driving. You have to be committing some other violation simultaneously.

So ... what's the point?

The point is to make points, I believe. This is feel-good legislation at its worst. It's exactly the type of thing that I did NOT miss while the Senate was on their little sabbatical. Pass a law to appease people, mainly the law enforcement community and the families whose lives have been touched by tragedy concerning texting-while-driving ... but make sure there's no real teeth to it. It's akin to telling a friend you'll help them move ... and then not showing up to actually help.

But never fear ... the US Senate is here ... kind of. Under the leadership of our very own Chuck Schumer, the is putting together legislation that would require states to pass laws banning text messaging or lose 25 percent of their federal highway funds.

There goes the US government again ... holding states hostage with a threat to withhold federal funding. They do the same thing with speed limits. This, in fact, has come up on Dialog on a number of occasions. See, the feds can't impose laws on states. But they can bribe or blackmail states with threats of witholding money. Some states have actually had the fortitude to tell the US Gov't to pound salt. How very.

I'm not sure why, but texting seems to be the new boogie man. First it was marijuana. Then the Communists. Now ... texting. Texting accident stories are popping up on the internet like shark attack stories seem to multiply each year.

Here's a clue for you: Texting is NOT the problem. Stupid is the problem. Just as it's the problem with the NY Assembly and the NY Senate and the US Senate ... it's the problem with the American people. Some people just aren't bright enough to multi-task.

Me? I can text while driving. I do it all the time. Texting with my right hand, smoking with my left hand. Steering with my knee. And changing the radio with whatever is left. Oh, and I speed. Guess what? Never been in an accident. Know why? Cause I'm capable. But the laws are not geared towards capable people. They're geared to the lowest common denominator.

So what we've got here ... is stupid people creating stupid laws ... to keep other stupid people from getting in car crashes.

Seriously, I commented on radio today that we should be able to test for certain things - add-ons, if you will - to your drivers' license. Want a license to text? Put it in the test. If you can text while parallel parking, it's all good. Want a license to speed? Just be tested for it.

Personally, I'd like a license to completely ignore traffic laws. They are - for the most part - arbitrary. And I hate arbitrary laws. Of course, I hate laws, period. I think they're stupid. But that's another blog post for another day.