I’ve been away the past couple of weeks, mostly sitting on a porch overlooking a river bay, but also doing some hiking and photography. My injured wrist precluded much more strenuous, but that’s OK. But now I’m back home and it’s back to work.
The August 22, 2016 issue of Maclean’s Magazine features an editorial about a coroner’s jury recommending that all cell phones, handheld or hands free, be banned from cars. It goes even further by suggesting that some type of jamming device be standard on all vehicles so that it will be impossible to use one.
The writer goes on to argue against these recommendations with such arguments as too many regulations now, the cost of policing, the inability for others in the car to use their phones or to call 911, the cost of installing the jamming equipment, etc.
I don’t really care whether I can use my phone while I’m driving, because I don’t anyways. However, I agree with the writer in that we’re being regulated to death and crimes should result in prosecution of the perpetrators, not by punishing everyone in advance to prevent the crime. But there is something else here that wasn’t covered in the editorial and that is, how far do we want to take this?
Since the coroner’s argument was that just speaking on the telephone is distracting, never mind whether or not the phone is being held. But if that’s true, what about all other forms of distraction in the car?
No one should be allowed to speak at all in the car because, hey, any conversation is distracting. While I’m sure there are many who wouldn’t like to have their spouses speaking to them, especially while driving (Slow down! You should’ve gone the way I said!), but how practical is it to keep everyone shut up while you’re driving? Especially the whining, shouting, fighting kids in the back seat? And, speaking of those kids in the back seat, one way of keeping them quiet is to have them play video games or text, etc. on their phones. Oh yeah, that won’t be possible.
You should also remove all driver controls in the car. No radio volume or channel controls, no heat and A/C adjustments, no seat levers, mirror controls, light switches, window controls, etc. Hey, even turning on your turn signals requires a certain amount of distracting concentration, although this obviously isn’t an issue for many.
And we’re going to have to eliminate those new 360⁰cameras. They’re much too good a distraction, especially being new toys to play with. And we’ll have to do something about those windows all around the car, eliminating all that distracting world out there.
And then, once we’ve eliminated all hand-held devices, automobile adjustments, cameras, most of the windows, and passengers (read stimuli), we can concentrate on that long, boring road ahead and slowly fall asleep at the wheel.