Friday, May 16, 2014

You Stupid People

Yesterday I got in my first car crash. It was a rear ender, I'm fine, and no one in the car behind me was hurt. My car was in good enough shape for me to pull it off to the side of the road. But his sat there for a while until we figured out the best way to push it. Meanwhile, everyone passing by gawks at the metal innards. One guy, who had his windows rolled down but must've assumed we couldn't hear him, said, "Don't text and drive, kids!"
The driver behind me was not on his phone. Neither was I. Yet people assume electronics are involved in a crash just because it takes place outside a high school.
About two hours later, I was riding shotgun with my mom to a doctor's appointment. At a stoplight, I glanced over and found a woman in her fifties with a phone in her lap. It took everything I had not to roll down the window and shout, "There's a law against that, you moron!"
People think they're safe at stoplights just because they aren't going anywhere. But the people behind you are. If the light ahead is green, they expect you to move. So move. Stop twiddling your thumb over your touch screen and get on with your life. You could get hit, and besides, do you know how annoying it is for everyone else when the light's changed and you're staring down at your crotch? Press. The. Gas.
Utah just passed a law this week that redefines distracted driving. It's been illegal to text while driving for a good long while. Because lawmakers aren't stupid. But now they've tightened up the wording and closed loopholes. Phones aren't primarily used for communication anymore. People get around tickets by saying they were checking facebook or searching youtube or playing candy crush rather than texting.
Now it's illegal to do anything with your phone beyond talking and searching for directions.
Unless you're a teenager. Then you can get fined for touching your phone. The freedom to talk and figure out where you're going applies to adult only.
What bothers me most isn't that special restrictions are placed on teenagers when applying them to everyone would make the roads safer for drivers like me. No, it's the attitude of my adult friends. They talk about "that new law that outlaws texting". As if such a thing never occurred to lawmakers before.
Nice to know that these registered voters are aware of what's going on in their government.
I can't walk down a school hallway without seeing a Don't Drive Stupid Poster. Or backpack. Or t-shirt. Or those cheap pens everyone seems to have with the logo on the side. Cell phones are heavily and stereotypically associated with the young. Yet phone commercials are always directed at adults. The anti-distraction campaign, however, is almost entirely directed at the young. My generation is well aware of the hazards of phone use. It's time adults clued up. Taking your eyes off the road is just as dangerous at 61 as it is at 16.

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