Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Texting... one, two, three... Texting...

In my home state of Massachusetts, they're trying to pass a law against the idiotic practice of texting while driving. (Hope I didn't offend any of you readers just now, but then again, if you are one of those who does this... What the hell is wrong with you?!?)

They're suggesting that heavy fines be levied against convicted offenders: $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second, and $500 for the third. They didn't mention a penalty for a fourth offense, but knowing that a lot of traffic violations occur without being seen by the police, if you text so damned much that you've actually been caught doing it three times, you'll probably be involved in a fatal accident before that fourth time rolls around.

Well, fines are fine -- ha-freakin'-ha -- but I think they should just break the offenders' fingers, so they can neither text nor drive for a bit. The length of the "sentence" would be determined by how long it took the fingers to heal.

And while it's true that older people heal less quickly than younger ones, that's pretty fitting, too, iffen ya think about it. If you're seventeen, I can almost -- almost! -- excuse your youthful ignorance. If you're forty, you really should know better than do pull this sort of stupid stunt while you're behind the wheel.

And if you're sixty-five or older... I'd have to ask you what I usually wonder whenever I see someone elderly who behaves -- and very likely went through life before now behaving -- like a total moron: "How the hell did you get to be this old, being this dumb?"

Thanks for your time.


  1. I've done it. But only while moving less than 5 mph or while stopped on a red. I figure that doesn't count.

  2. No, probably not. And I usually give more leeway to the pretty ones like yourself. ;-)

  3. A lot of those seniors are "sex-ting." In their defense, they don't have a lot of time to waste.

  4. David, as one who almost got hit by a city bus( while the driver was on his cell-friggin-phone ), I applaud it. But the reality is that enforcement will be scarce. I mean, look at all the drunks that continue to drive, long after they've lost their licenses. I can see it easier to police the municipal workers but the general public?

  5. Totally agree! And have threatened my son's life if he does it! ha.

  6. @Ronda: As long as they don't do their "sexting" while they drive, more power to 'em!

    @Subby: They should deputize people like myself. Let the regular cops look out for the rapists, murders, drug dealers, etc., while I go after the cell phone users and road rage idiots.

    @Betsy: Thanks. Nice to see I get a little respect on my solo blog. ;-)

  7. Ha, ha, we beat ya! Down here in Li'l Rhody we passed that law last month. And they need to hire the boys from North Providence (hey Rocco, how ya doin'?) to do that finger-breaking thing (although they tend to concentrate on kneecaps; I think we can retrain them). But joking aside, I agree that it's an utterly moronic thing to do.

  8. I can hardly text sitting in a comfy chair, much less driving.

  9. I don't text at all, but my thought is, that if a policeman can drive, eat donuts, drink coffee, talk on his radio, and type on his dashboard-mounted computer...then an experienced civilian can certainly do something else while they're driving. Make it illegal for EVERYONE or stop taking away our "freedoms." There was a report on TV this past week showing no reduction in car accidents in states where "no-texting" laws were in effect and enforced. Law enforcement was shocked by these studies.

  10. @Paul: Those are very valid points.

    Technically, police -- let's pretend they're not guilty of the transgressions you listed, here -- already have a right to stop anyone who's driving with only one hand on the wheel. If the cop in question wants to call it "driving as to endanger," there ya go! I've known guys who were stopped by cops who were in bad moods, because they were driving with one arm around their girlfriends. And of course, any kind of distraction is unwise, whether it's wolfing down a Quarter Pounder, or smoking a cigarette, or scoping out that blonde on the other side of the street.

    Too many times, enforcement of the law is according to whim, despite our wish that something illegal ought to be be illegal for everyone. I was once stopped for an air freshener that was hanging from my rear-view mirror. How many other people drive around with graduation tassels, miniature flags, and CDs -- a practice which baffles the crap out of me, btw -- hanging from theirs?

    And sadly, even if they were able to outlaw things like texting and then, miraculously, enforce them 100%, I fear there would still be enough accidents caused by other reasons so that the statistics wouldn't be considerably altered. There will always be enough yo-yos out there to fill the gap.

    Sometimes it appears to help by attacking issues one at a time. It's kinda like capital punishment. There are those who point out that the "fear" of the death penalty certainly hasn't abolished capital offenses, but there's always someone who'll say, "Yeah, but if you execute one criminal, at least that's one who'll never kill again."

    [climbs off of soapbox]

  11. I'm totally with you on this one, man. Have you seen this YouTube video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rdV9ADjpcg. If you do a search for "texting and driving" on YouTube, you'll be amazed with some of the things you'll see. It should be required viewing before any teenager gets a driver license.

  12. that's friggin' funny. you can pretty much tell if they are texting by the way the car veers all over the road. had one coming straight at me yesterday, crossed the double yellow and everything. teenage girl.

    so, you live in Mass. I never knew. just knew it was New England.
    I'm in N.H. but I think you already know that.

  13. @Blunoz: Wow, that video contains some pretty strong stuff. Thanks for sending the link. I also used YouTube's sidebar to check out some similar stuff. Cell phone use, whether for texting or regular calls, has been an issuie with me for a lnong time, ever since a friend from work almost lost her life when she was hit by someone using a cell phone while driving. So even though I did my usual smartass take on the subject with the whole "don't fine them, break their fingers" bit, I feel it's a very real concern.

    @California Girl: A friend's daughter was telling me two nights ago about following a driver she thought was drunk... who was texting, as she learned later. And yeah, I'm from Massachusetts. I do mention that once in a while on my blog.

  14. WE have fines here for both texting and talking on your mobile phone unless it's a 'hands free' but nobody seems to get caught until they've had a prang into the car in front. Who's gonna police it?

  15. @Baino: Unfortunately, as my friend Paul said, having a law on the books does not insure that it will be enforced, or -- may I add -- if enforced, enforced fairly.

  16. My other point is...if you followed me in a car, you'd see that I was as qualified to drive while doing other things (I no longer read while I drive) as any police officer. I will admit that MOST people are terrible drivers who should be pulled over and ticketed IF they were weaving around on the road while texting or eating or talking on their cell phones. It just shouldn't be against the law to use a legal device IF it doesn't affect your driving ability...and in my case, it does not (but I do NOT text at all)


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