A gentleman commented on yesterday’s post which was entitled “Text While You Drive”. He thought that my suggestion that we ought to encourage people to text while they drive, allowing the laws of natural selection to wipe them out through their foolish behavior was “terrible … but funny.” (I truly do have the bumper sticker pictured on my car). I think of it as “dark humor” or irony.
Those who know me think of me as one of the gentlest people they have ever met. None of my neighbors has ever heard me raise my voice in anger – because I am virtually never angry at anyone or anything. One friend likes to describe me as “an old soul” – sometimes with a bit more emphasis on the “old” part than I would prefer. I know she means it as a compliment.
I believe that reason, common sense and civility are far more effective in persuading people to a point of view than are anger and invective. That is my modus operandi and has been for many years.
If you read either my profile or some earlier entries on this blog (including yesterday’s) you understand that I believe that we must take personal responsibility for our actions and not rely on “big brother government” to enact regulations intended for our “benefit”. So it will probably surprise you that I am advocating yet another government regulation – but one that I think would actually be beneficial.
The statistics are very clear. Distracted driving is by far the major cause of traffic accidents and fatalities – exceeding even drunk driving. Logic would suggest that if we were to reduce the amount of distracted driving (texting and holding a cell phone to your ear while operating a vehicle) we would see a reduction in the number of vehicular accidents and deaths on our streets and highways. Bravo! Good idea.
However, the problem with passing a law making it illegal to engage in those activities, while it makes us feel warm and fuzzy and feel that we are addressing the problem, is that it is unenforceable – making the law worthless.
Fortunately, I have a simple solution. This should appeal to everyone with the exception of three groups: 1) People who feel above the law and want to continue making calls or send texts while driving; 2) Owners and employees of auto repair body shops and; 3) Personal Injury lawyers. Yes, even our politicians can endorse this idea without fear of voter backlash.
Thanks to Steve Jobs and others, most of us are now equipped with “smart phones”. These little devices can tell us where we are and how to get home … well you’re probably more conversant than I as to their capabilities since I only acquired my first smart phone last month. So far I have figured out how to accidentally end a phone call but have yet to explore much of its potential. (Unfortunately, I do not have any 10 year olds at home who could explain its more advanced features to me).
So here’s the proposal. Congress passes a law called the “Pay As You Go Surcharge”. (PAYGOS).
Since cell phones know where you are they should also be able to tell the rate of speed at which you are moving (or if not, that modification should be easy to make by the engineers who designed them).
If you attempt to text someone and are moving at 10 miles an hour or more, a warning would show up on your phone’s screen, “There will be a $2.50 surcharge for completing this message.” The recipient would also be advised, “There will be a $2.50 surcharge for accepting this message.” On the theory that texting is 10 times as dangerous as completing a voice call – the surcharge for completing voice calls would be $.25 to both parties.
The revenues collected from those who continued to text and call while driving would be required to be used to pay down the national debt and for no other purpose. (As I said, even the politicos could get behind this).
Washington has spent so much time talking about deficit reduction without doing anything about it. This proposal is a way to turn talk into real debt reduction. Perhaps this is far too simple to get the attention of our lawmakers. I hope not.