Thursday, January 3, 2008

Multitasking Drivers

If you pay attention to current events, you may have noticed that on January 1, it became illegal in Washington state to compose text messages on your cellphone/blackberry thing while driving.

If you get caught, it'll cost you $124. If it leads to an accident, the penalty goes up to a whopping $175.

Does this seem scary to any of my road-going bike-rider friends? It sure scares me!
- It suggests that in the other 49 states, it's okay (legal, at least) to compose text messages on your matchbook-size keyboard as you're driving along.
- More significantly, it suggests that there are people out there, operating 3500-pound steel missiles, whose judgment is so poor that they'll do something that's mind-bogglingly stupid and irresponsible, unless there's a law against it.

We already share roads with people who are BARELY capable of driving at all. (I see them all the time! There's no IQ test to get a drivers' license, and no way to test judgment, far as I know. Except after somebody causes an accident driving-while-texting, I guess you can say, "Golly! That guy was really exercising bad judgment!")

My biggest fear, as a road-going bicyclist, is the fear that somebody will plow into me while either impaired or distracted. I guess I can take comfort in knowing that if it happened in Washington, the perp would get fined $175 if it were his texting that caused the distraction.

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