Looking for your Thematic fix? Head here. Otherwise, please read on.Big news in the happy land of Ontario this week: Bill 118* was passed into law. It mandates fines of up to $500 for anyone who talks on a handheld device while driving. Police will begin enforcing the law, which also bans fiddling with DVD players, handheld video games (!) and MP3 players, this autumn.
You won't get a ticket if you're using a headset. Nor will you get a ticket if you're using a GPS device. I looked for mention of hot plates, toaster ovens and automatic Kleenex dispensers. Alas, couldn't find 'em, so I suspect those are still OK, as is changing a baby hippo's diaper in the front seat.
As happy as I am that our government has taken time out from soaking the citizenry to make our lives safer, I'm pretty convinced the roads will be just as dangerous as they are now. Here's where I stand:
Any conversation while you're at the wheel reduces your concentration on the task at hand - namely keeping your vehicle from violently fusing with other movable and/or immovable objects around you. Study after study shows a driver's ability to focus on driving is just as compromised whether he/she is talking on a handheld, talking on a Bluetooth headset, talking with a significant other or simply yelling at the kids.So, our dear all-powerful leaders, if you're truly intent on cleaning things up on the road, I invite you to consider enacting a law that bans ANY interaction at all while driving. And that includes talking to yourself. Obtuse and ridiculous? Sure. But it might make an actual difference where the current swiss cheese law will not.
Some research has even concluded that cell-phone yakkers are just as lousy at the wheel as drunk drivers. I'm not inclined to disagree.
Your turn: Are you sick of almost being wiped off the face of the earth by someone too busy ordering pizza to keep his/her eye on the road? If toothless legislation doesn't do the trick, what will? Vigilante justice? Please vent.
* Because governments aren't happy until they've confused us all with unnecessarily ponderous language, the official name of this thing is: Bill 118, Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009. I couldn't make this up if I tried.