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Thread: Weeding out the "Iffys" (instead of banning cell phones)

  1. #21
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "I think there are certain actions that can be defined as inherently dangerous - in other words, by definition you put other motorists at significant risk by engaging in the activity. "

    This is potent argument, which is why it's so dangerous to human liberty. It is dangerous because it is subjective yet to many people comes across as objective.

    But is using a cell/text device inherently dangerous; that is, all drivers, in every case, are impaired? How do you establish this? You say that "by definition," such actions "put other motorists at significant risk." But the fact is each day millions of people use cells, etc. and don't have accidents - which implies the opposite. If only a few people cause a problem as a result of "x" then likely "x" isn't the real problem - it's the particular individual involved.

    This debate is very much like the debate over "gun control." A relative handful of people are either reckless in their handing of firearms, or criminally misuse them. But the guns aren't the problem. It's the specific individuals who misuse them.

    Back to cars...

    An extreme example: Some people are better drivers with no hands on the wheel (using their legs to steer) than some people are with both hands on the wheel - by dint of better awareness, anticipation of possibilities and so on.

    A less extreme example: Some people are much more capable drivers with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a burger (or a cell) than a great many people are with nothing in their hands but the steering wheel.

    Some people are absolutely terrible drivers even though they have never touched a cell phone or electronic device while driving.

    The crux of it is, rather than criminalizing "what ifs?" based on the least common denominator, why not refrain from hassling (and punishing) people until they actually cause a problem?

    This approach strikes me as in accord with human liberty and fundamentally fair. It grants people their right to exercise their own best judgment - and to be held accountable as individuals.

    Wouldn't that be preferable to the statist, Big Momma Knows Best philosophy we live under today that treats us all like idiots, and forces us to do "x" because some government bureaucrat or political scumbag thinks his way is the way that ought to be enforced at gunpoint?

  2. #22
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    Solving problems

    Most of the posters have the right idea. The first question that must be answered is "What is the problem you are trying to solve?" If you say "stopping people from texting while driving" then you are not looking far enough into it. The problem that we are trying to solve has to do with safety, not with cell phones.

    The people making these stupid laws are not qualified to decide what the solution is.

    For example, here in New Hampshire, they just made it illegal to send a text message. Besides the fact that the term "text message" is not a legal term and really has no meaning, there is a statute just above it that excludes people using a device that is licensed, which all transmitters (including the transmitter inside your cell phone) usually are.

    The lawmakers don't realize that cell phones are little transmitters and receivers. No offense intended, but they are not experts on cell phone technology.

    The lawmakers also don't realize that the problem is poor driving skills, and poor self-discipline, and it has nothing to do specifically with "text messages" or cell phones or any such specific thing. There is also no obvious indication that they are experts on driving or human psychology.

    My guess is that anyone who has even given this 10 seconds of thought to distracted driving, is a better driver than anyone who hasn't. That is a start. {sigh}

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    This is potent argument, which is why it's so dangerous to human liberty. It is dangerous because it is subjective yet to many people comes across as objective.

    But is using a cell/text device inherently dangerous; that is, all drivers, in every case, are impaired? How do you establish this? You say that "by definition," such actions "put other motorists at significant risk." But the fact is each day millions of people use cells, etc. and don't have accidents - which implies the opposite. If only a few people cause a problem as a result of "x" then likely "x" isn't the real problem - it's the particular individual involved.

    This debate is very much like the debate over "gun control." A relative handful of people are either reckless in their handing of firearms, or criminally misuse them. But the guns aren't the problem. It's the specific individuals who misuse them.

    Back to cars...

    An extreme example: Some people are better drivers with no hands on the wheel (using their legs to steer) than some people are with both hands on the wheel - by dint of better awareness, anticipation of possibilities and so on.

    A less extreme example: Some people are much more capable drivers with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a burger (or a cell) than a great many people are with nothing in their hands but the steering wheel.

    Some people are absolutely terrible drivers even though they have never touched a cell phone or electronic device while driving.

    The crux of it is, rather than criminalizing "what ifs?" based on the least common denominator, why not refrain from hassling (and punishing) people until they actually cause a problem?

    This approach strikes me as in accord with human liberty and fundamentally fair. It grants people their right to exercise their own best judgment - and to be held accountable as individuals.

    Wouldn't that be preferable to the statist, Big Momma Knows Best philosophy we live under today that treats us all like idiots, and forces us to do "x" because some government bureaucrat or political scumbag thinks his way is the way that ought to be enforced at gunpoint?
    Well, I must admit - you make a good argument here. And I guess it all comes back to the main issue, which is, we live in a country full of crappy drivers.

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