The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

The man who created the character, Sherlock Holmes was certainly on to something in this statement.  But what if you eliminated the impossible and the truth were not improbable but extremely obvious?  Wouldn’t it be clear that we should all endorse this gleefully?  You would think this is kind of a no-brainer.

And that brings me to the subject (once again) of texting while driving.

Here’s the impossible – passing laws that prohibit texting while driving and expecting that they will be obeyed or can be enforced.  One would think we wouldn’t need to pass this kind of law because an intelligent individual would realize that this puts herself at risk – not to mention the possible risk inflicted on innocent people who are in the neighborhood of her vehicle.

Recent stories about two young men, one who suffered a brain injury in Texas as a result of his texting while driving and the second about another in Washington state who narrowly escaped what might have been a fatal accident while engaged in the same activity prove that not all of us pay attention to the law – and even fewer exhibit any awareness of “common sense.”

Currently 39 states have laws on the books which prohibit texting while operating a motor vehicle.  What a waste of time, money and paper.  There is, as I have previously suggested an obvious and easy solution – and it will actually work.

By definition, if you are able to text from your phone you have a “smart phone.”  That smart phone can offer you GPS guidance – which means it knows where you are.  How hard would it be to modify those phones (if they don’t already have the capability) to be able to determine how fast you are moving while you are using it?

If your phone detects that you are moving at faster than 10 mph, if you attempt either to receive or send a text, both screens come up with a warning:  “Accepting (or Sending) this text will result in your being charged a $5.00 Service Fee for texting while driving.”  Hit both the recipient and sender at the same time – thereby educating two people at once.  I guarantee that after one or two monthly billing cycles, these auto-texters will reconsider their ways.

No need to involve the police in the process, diverting them from more important work they have to do.  And it’s not a matter of getting caught – because by your own actions you are convicting (and paying a fine) yourself.

Sounds like more government intervention in our lives.  Well, in a sense that is true.  But in 39 states the government has already intervened.  We are merely making their efforts efficient.

And what happens to the fees collected?  Use them to pay down the national debt or give them to a charity.  (I’m even willing to waive my 10% fee for thinking up this very obvious solution).

Comments on: "I HATE REPEATING MYSELF … BUT" (12)

  1. We are friends with a family whose daughter killed someone by texting while driving. What a nightmare ensued for them and for the family of the victim. The conviction for the killing, the lasting mark on the daughter’s criminal record, and the financial burden of the legal process are bad enough, but they don’t even begin to touch the heartbreak, guilt and/or misery that will follow both families throughout their lives. But people think they are exempt from making the dumb mistakes that so many others just like them have made.

    As a variation on your proposal, might there be some way to simply disarm texting and e-mail functions while the phone is traveling more than x mph?

  2. As to the first commentator, I am so sorry to read about your friend’s daughter.

    I believe that the ideas proposed are very good and will work where human nature exceeds the bounds of common sense. I have also been guilty of texting while driving, but a near miss with my son in the car made me rethink my priorities. I decided that nothing on my phone could be SO important that it couldn’t wait until I could pulled over or arrived at my destination.

    Thanks for sharing this post, it reinforced my resolve to stay committed to my decision to not text while I drive.

    • We live in a world filled with uncertainty. There are things that can harm us and those we love over which we have no control. That is life.

      But life also offers us opporutnites to avoid many pitfalls. But we need to be open to do so. Your experience with your son was an eye opener.

      Perhaps we all need to share a similar experience to understand how fragile life is – and to cherish it.

  3. Your idea, as well as illero’s, MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. They have the technology to do so.
    I’m sorry to hear about those families.

    • Thank you, Donna. It makes me wonder … if I can offer simple solutions to some of our problems, why can’t our elected officials come up with these ideas – or listen to them?

  4. I swear, your solutions to various societal issues lead me to believe that you really should run for office. Somewhere. Anywhere. This solution in particular is so simple it’s brilliant, would cost nothing to implement, and would save countless lives. As I ask with many of your completely doable solutions – WHY hasn’t anyone in our government thought of this yet??

    • Watch what you say – because if I ever decided to run for public office, I’m drafting you as my campaign manager!

      I believe the answer to your question is simple. Politicians want to look good – but often that comes at the expense of doing good. Passing a law that we shouldn’t text and drive “looks” good although it is unenforceable. And the voting public realizes that. Doing good requires adopting solutions that actually work such as the one I proposed. But the voter who is affected gets cranky with the lawmaker who suggests a real solution – and might not vote for him again. And herein we see the dillema between self-interest and the public well-being.

      It’s fairly obvious which one carries the greater weight.

      • This makes sense as I apply it to other issues as well. Isn’t it odd that they do this, we know they’re doing it – which should signal to them that this campaign strategy may not be as effective as they think – yet we both continue to play this game election after election…

      • Our politicians rely on one underlying principle. That “We the People” are too lazy or uninformed to take the corrective action of voting them out of office. And if you look at the rate at which incumbents are returned to office, they are obviously correct.

      • juwanna, I think you hit the nail on the head with both of these last two responses. And yet, these guys always want to remind us that “the American voter is too smart to fall for the lies churned out by our opponents.” Do they say such things and then step into a back room and laugh themselves silly?

  5. I’ve heard a rumor (I have yet to confirm it) that in Washington, D. C. and the state capitols around the country, there is an epidemic of “gut-busting” that is exploding among those who hold elected office. But not to worry – it probably is covered under Obamacare.

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