One of the latest trends in the criminalization of normal conduct is the enactment of laws banning the use of cell phones and/or texting while driving a car. Despite the plethora of laws already in existence to regulate the minutia of citizen conduct, many lawmakers as well as Oprah Winfrey have decided the scourge of cell phone users must be reigned in as well.
As a frequent cell phone user who generally drives in a responsible manner, I’m offended whenever I hear about a municipality or state enacting laws against using cell phones in cars. While it is certainly unwise to be tapping out text messages while weaving through traffic, I don’t think the average person’s cell phone usage in an automobile rises to that level of stupidity. In fact, people are getting in their cars and doing things far more risky than taking a few phone calls, yet you don’t see Oprah doing specials about these drivers. Consider the following driving habits which are far worse than using a cell phone while driving:
- Eating while driving. Approximately 100% of the people who drive cars in this country eat while driving. Most are willfully oblivious to the road hazard they create as they drip sauce out of their triple whoppers down the front of their shirts. Yet a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 80% of car accidents and 65% of near-misses are caused by eating behind the wheel. The food most likely to cause an accident while driving is coffee – which apparently means that coffee drinkers on the road are more dangerous than those driving under the influence of alcohol. Legislation against prohibiting this behavior was blocked once lawmakers learned Starbucks was going to stop selling cappuccino to them at the drive-through window.
- Reading while driving. Ever picked up a book that was too good to put down? So did a bus driver in the State of Washington, who was caught with an iPhone camera reading a novel while driving in busy rush hour traffic. Note that the transit agency has a “four strikes” rule against reading while driving, while a zero-tolerance policy on cell phone usage. This means you get fired for using your cell phone once, but you have to be caught reading while driving four times before you lose your job. Anyone see some bad logic here?
- Surfing the internet and/or playing video games while driving. A Honolulu bus driver decided to outdo the Washington bus driver by being caught on camera playing a video game while driving a bus. Some states such as New York have jumped on this problem, passing a law making it illegal to send text messages, play video games, or surf the internet while behind the wheel of a car. All things considered, I think I’d rather see my bus driver enjoying a good book than to see him immersed in a game of Grand Theft Auto.
- Trimming bikini line while driving. Megan Barnes recently crashed her car into the back of a car in Florida while shaving her euphemistically-described bikini line in order to be “ready” when she got to her boyfriend’s home. To make it easier to navigate the vehicle, her ex-husband was steering the car from the back seat. Members of the Florida legislature attempted to draft new traffic laws to address this problem, but were unable to stop laughing long enough to write anything down.
- Getting head while driving. Oral sex while driving is so popular it now has its own Facebook group, whose membership consists entirely of people who have never seen The World According to Garp. Sometimes called road head, this is the method of receiving a blow job most likely to result in a penis being bitten off. All things considered, the man who was sued for causing a car crash while getting oral sex from his wife should count himself lucky.
- Sex while driving. Making Ms. Barnes look like a role model for safe drivers, two Florida teens caught the attention of a police officer when their car was driving erratically. When their car pulled across the road and stopped, the officer saw that both were sitting in the front seat and were trying to put their pants back on. Not to be outdone by American teenagers, a Norwegian man was arrested near Oslo for having sex with his girlfriend while driving at a speed of over 133 kilometers per hour (roughly 83 miles per hour for you Yanks). And while this article is not generally addressing drunk driving stories because DUI is already illegal, we must mention the Israeli man who was arrested for drunk driving at three times the legal limit while having sex with his girlfriend. He explained his erratic driving by telling police that his girlfriend was blocking his view of the road.
- Teacher having sex with a student while driving bus and talking on a cell phone on the way to a hotel to drink alcohol and snort cocaine. In an obvious attempt to be the final example in this blog post, a teacher in England was prosecuted over receiving oral sex from a student while driving a school mini bus while talking on his cell phone. The two traveled together because he took the student on overnight school trips, where they would share a hotel room as well as champagne and cocaine. I won’t even attempt to elaborate on this one.
So, before you start interfering with my iPhone usage in the car, do something about these other drivers who are creating a much bigger risk than me and the people I’m chatting with on our cell phones. All things considered, we are being pretty responsible. If you want to discuss it with me, I have a long drive to make today so make sure to call me in my car.