Cell phones kill, if you use them when you’re driving. Separately, but related, there is a severe problem of individual freedom against community responsibility in the United States, and the fact that the line between the two is warped in favor of individual freedoms. The combination of these two problems is often fatal.
Previous blogs have noted that individual rights and individual freedom worked well when you were out on the prairie, fifty miles from your nearest neighbor, but they don’t work anywhere near as well when your nearest neighbor is ten feet away in the apartment above you.
Driver cell phone use in vehicles is a particularly good/bad example of individual rights and freedom against community responsibility.
We all know that the vast majority of accidents and deaths on the road are caused by drivers not paying attention to what they are doing; they have head-phones/ear pods on listening to music, they are talking and looking at their passengers; they turn around to admonish their children about something; some are drunk; some are high; many are just incompetent drivers; AND MOST ARE TALKING OR TEXTING ON THEIR DAMN CELL PHONES.
As an example, I’ve had two cars, on separate occasions on the same day this week, attempt to pull into my lane when we were virtually alongside each other, because they were talking on their phones and didn’t look……..at 65mph. A blast from my horn sent them back where they belonged – luckily they didn’t have earphones on or they wouldn’t have heard even that.
A few states have banned talking on cell phones while you are driving, but most have yet to face up to the fact that IT’S DANGEROUS. In Colorado, teen drivers are banned by law from talking on their cell phones when they are driving, but that ban goes away when they reach the age of 18. What sort of idiocy is that? Ban everyone. (Why would anyone think that people ages 18 to 100 are any more responsible about cell phone use than teenagers? It’s more likely that politicians passed this law because 16-17 year-olds can’t vote, and so they can’t take revenge at the voting booth.)(Slightly off topic, but related to my other blog this week on unenforceable laws – how on earth do you enforce such a teenage law. You can’t, it’s purely window-dressing on the part of the politicians to make the public believe they are actually doing something.)
Back to cell phone use when you are driving. The time before you hit the vehicle in front of you, even at 30mph in a city, or suburban street, is way too short to stop from crashing into it, if you are not paying attention, even for a second. At 65mph on a highway, it’s impossible. AND, while I’m at it, why do many people have to drive 15ft behind you, at 65mph? It’s stupid, unnecessary and ridiculously dangerous. Have you ever heard of anyone being pulled over by the police for this idiotic practice? This week I had someone so close to me that I almost couldn’t see them in my mirrors – I was in a pickup truck and they were in a small car. Death wish!
I’m sure that any attempt to introduce an enforceable, and punitive, law against cell phone use by drivers of all vehicles, would be met with lawyers’ cries of restricting individual rights. Yes, you have a right to kill yourself, if you are stupid enough to do so, but you have absolutely no right to take me to hell with you. This is a perfect example of individual freedom against community responsibility.
If I may rant a little further, the dominance of individual rights over community responsibility, together with radical religion, will be the two major causes of the fall of the United States. Not China, not Russia, not even Donald Trump. I predict!
Do you remember how long it took for the US to introduce obligatory seatbelts? That only happened after years of huge road death statistics and THOUSANDS OF DEAD PEOPLE. Even then, the “individual rights” movement, forced the lily-livered politicians to legislate two seat belts, one for the chest and one for the lap. That appeasement allowed people to only use the lap belt, if they so desired. Idiocy! Are we going to wait years and thousands of deaths again on the issue of cell phones? I’ll leave the case of radical religion for other blogs.