And we thought it was just Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, who liked to smother citizens of his city by impeding their civil liberties. Now NBC reports that there is now a bill advancing through the New Jersey Assembly which would allow drivers to be ticketed for actions such as snacking, smoking or putting on make-up behind the wheel.
What does the distracted driving law state?
According to reports, the new distracted driving law would fine drivers who “engage in any activity unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.”
Other actions could also be deemed distracting, although they are not explicitly outlined in the law. The distracted driving bill, which advanced by a 12-0 vote Monday in the Assembly’s transportation committee, would allow officers at the scene to determine if the driver has engaged in other distracted driving actions which could be considered “distracting.”
Critics of the new distracted driving law state that it is too vague. They argue the distracted driving law could leave drivers confused about actions in which they may participate. For instance, can they change the radio or start a C.D.? Can they look at a map? What if they need to hand a bottle to their child or reach in the glove compartment? The broad range of actions that a driver can participate in while they drive is almost too exhaustive to calculate.
Most annoying things which can distract drivers
Let’s talk about things that are really distracting while you drive. Think about two kids fighting in the backseat or a baby crying. One only has to drive two minutes with a crying infant before they might want to ram their car into a brick wall. And what about the front seat driver who offers too much advice about how to drive? Are they going to be outlawed too?
The problem is that common sense should be enough to moderate a driver’s actions without the interference and control of the state and federal governments. Unfortunately, what we are finding is that many drivers continue to perform actions which are difficult even when you are NOT driving a vehicle like applying mascara while changing the radio and answering a telephone call.
How many people have to die before drivers realize that when they drive their attention needs to be wholly focused on the road? Recent studies suggest texting or surfing on the web may be creeping up on drunk driving as one of the most dangerous actions performed while driving. Now, groups that had previously focused most of their attention on drunk driving have shifted their efforts to eliminate distracted driving caused by texting and driving.
But what are we really talking about? As mentioned above, the issue is something much bigger, it’s about common sense. And it’s not something that can be legislated, regardless of how many laws you write. And it’s not just stupid kids who lack the insight to realize how serious their actions might be. No, adults are also engaging in dangerous driving actions. Now common sense, which historically is something we expected from adults, if only adults, is apparently not too common anymore.
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