• Driving Under the Influence

      I just bought a new Dodge minivan. It has cool gadgets like a hard drive that holds a thousand songs. I spend so much attention fiddling with the buttons while driving that I am amazed that I haven’t killed myself — or someone else.

      In fact, when I think about the millions of us speeding along at 60-plus mph — inches from each other — most of us talking on the phone, listening to the radio, eating, shaving, etc., it’s a miracle that more of us don’t smash into each other.

      I did a show in 2002 on government bans on cell phone use while driving. I cited a study funded by AAA that found that more crashes are caused by other distractions.

      People do all kinds of things while driving. They eat, fix their hair, put on lipstick, light cigarettes, and we even saw someone curling their eyelashes. If we must always drive with two hands on the wheel, should we outlaw picking your nose? Just putting on my sunglasses or drinking a sip of coffee takes a hand off the wheel.

      Could it be that humans adapt?  Since phones and other gadgetry have been invented, traffic death rates have steadily fallen. But now there’s a new round of hysteria about car phones.

      This will probably lead to more bad legislation.  I suspect humans constantly get better at multi-tasking as we take on the challenge of new technology.  Government should butt out.

      Eric Peters http://spectator.org/archives/2009/07/23/talk-and-drive points out that airline pilots talk on radios without crashing.

      Commercial truckers manage to maintain control, too, while working their CBs. And the truth of the matter is that many drivers are perfectly able to handle a phone conversation while handling their cars.

      The problem is that many aren't -- but it's not the phones. It's their already marginal driving ability.

      Peters says laws that forbid gabbing while driving are designed not to prevent accidents, but to generate tickets that provide funds for local governments.

      Now we will get another slew of laws empowering the cops to pull us over for using a cell phone while driving -- or just talking, period -- even if our driving is blameless.

      Pre-October 2009