Contemptible Conversing Commuters

Now I’m the last person to condone government intervention or intrusion into my life in the form of laws restricting a person’s freedom to commit Darwinistically dangerous acts like smoking cigars or drinking ethanol-based beverages. Where I draw the line on the side of government supervision and control is when it affects a right or freedom which in the hands of those who are intellectually and or common-sensically-challenged, can directly influence the length of my stay on this Earth.

I understand in this technologically advanced culture of instant gratification, in the age of “not enough hours in the day,” everyone’s time is precious. Kids and extra-curricular socially-acceptable activities like soccer practice and girl scouts, 50+ hour work weeks, exercising to reduce your carbon footprint, chiropractor and therapist sessions…it’s all too much to fit into a 24-hour day. People are forced to utilize their “free” time in an ever increasingly efficient fashion. Most time-starved people are turning to the last bit of what used to be a haven between the kids and the career…the rush-hour commute.

What used to be a place where commuters could sip on their favorite caffeinated beverage while listening to the news, music or their annoying morning talk show host-of-choice, has evolved. It’s bad enough some rush-hour commuters are distracted while trying to shave, put on make-up or eat a microwave drive-thru breakfast wrap. These are the same people who have trouble walking and talking at the same time. Thanks to some of the technological advances of the 21st Century, these wanna-be multitaskers now can talk to their BFF and operate a 2,500 pound SUV traveling at 70 mph with one hand, totally oblivious to everything around them. Who the hell could you possibly be speaking to on your cell phone at 6:45 in the morning?

A 2003 University of Utah study compared the driving characteristics of subjects with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in the U.S., versus those of subjects involved in a cell phone conversation. The study concluded that while intoxicated drivers exhibited more aggressive driving styles, cell phone drivers exhibited greater impairment. While I whole-heartedly agree with the conclusions of the study…I have first hand experience during my harrowing daily commute alongside hundreds of potentially impaired conversationalists on Interstate 78…I do question the validity of the study. Where did they get drunken people in Utah?

In the U.K., accidents involving a driver being distracted by talking on a mobile phone have begun to be prosecuted as negligence similar to a DUI. Currently in the U.S. only a handful of states have implemented some type of limitation on driving while speaking on a cell phone, while countries like India, Turkmenistan, Croatia, Kenya, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and even the Netherlands have bans. I’m not sure if some of these countries even have cell phones.

I’m not advocating for more government “Big Brother” like control. We have enough of that already. All I’d like to see is a little more common-sense when it comes to multitasking. If you’re going to talk and drive, at least spend the money on a hands-free device. That way when the highway patrol is picking you out of the guardrail, they won’t have to extract the cell phone from the side of your face. Thank goodness no one is stupid enough to try to text message or stare at a GPS device while driving…

Marc “Wiggy” Kovacs
Mindful Multitasking Motorist

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2 Responses to “Contemptible Conversing Commuters”

  1. Is this from your book? This felt warm and familiar, and since I read it last, cellphones are now banned while driving where I live…woohoo! 😀

    • Yes my dear. I haven’t had time to write anything new lately and I’m trying to keep this updated so I’m using some of the stuff from the book. Thanks for stopping. I’ll be catching up on blogs this weekend and I’ll come spoil yours too. 😉

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