In the year since laws were put in place here in Ontario banning texting/doing anything with technology while driving, conditions on the road and driver behaviours haven’t changed a whole lot, if at all. No one who isn’t in government really expected it to, but those laws still exist. An analysis of statistics gathered over the first year of the law’s existence reveals a total of 46000 or so tickets issued for texting while driving, averaging roughly 100 per day in that time. And yet, the majority still do it nearly every chance they get. And people still bitch about it every chance they get. The article goes on to point out–in rather obvious fashion–that the law forbids use of anything from your iPod to your laptop to your iPhone while driving, but law or no law, it’s done very little to actually curb the act.
It’s hardly just an Ontario/Canadian thing. Just about everywhere, on both sides of the border, people are coming to the realization that laws banning texting while driving don’t do anything but make governments money. And yet in most if not all places affected, those laws still exist–and some are getting a little more strict about it. Accident rates haven’t dropped, people aren’t any more likely to pay attention to the law unless there’s a cop tailing them, and it’s just one more thing to not be very easy to actually enforce.
Yes, in theory, the laws were a good idea–in most cases, phone in hand plus moving vehicle equals generally not recommended. You get distracted doing what you’re doing, and not paying attention to what’s going on outside the vehicle, and problems come up. But you can’t legislate inteligence and/or common sense into people. Most of the same people who do that are more than likely the same ones who apply their makeup in the car, or end up playing with the radio while going down the highway–both also things very likely to cause you and people around you problems if you’re paying more attention to that than the road. Unless these governments are about to start expanding current laws to include disallowing that, it’s probably about time for them to maybe start to clue in to the fact laws like this aren’t generally good ideas. Well, that is, unless you like periodically reading headlines about bus drivers getting caught breaking them. Which, I suppose, works if you’re looking for an excuse to get pissed. But if you actually expect things like this to do anything more than that, you’ve probably been disappointed the last year or so. Sorry to say, but unless the government invents a common sense pill, things aren’t looking up for you on that front. No thanks to texting while driving laws.