The federal government is considering whether to force states to outlaw all cell phone use while driving. While I understand that driving distracted is dangerous, I am not comfortable with this sort of legislation. I am reasonably comfortable with texting, web-surfing, and typing being outlawed... all of these tasks require both hands and eyes. But, mental distraction, as in hands-free cell phone use, is not something that legislation can control.
Sure I talk on my phone while driving, but I don't begin to consider that as dangerous or distracting as the other things that I have to do. If they really want to make me safer on the road, it is time to implement the car-top kid carrier. The kids really drive me nuts in the car. They fight, they throw stuff, they moan, and they cry. They pee in their seats, eat, ask me to look at stuff ("um, no, I'll look at the road instead"), and they drop things.
What else do I do while driving? I sometimes eat. I almost always drink soda. I reach for a tissue and blow my nose. I keep my dog out of my lap, she weighs 70 pounds. I reach for my sunglasses.
What don't I do behind the wheel? I never text or read email or websurf. I don't apply make-up or do my hair. I don't apply nail polish. Should we also address the legality of all of these things? I see people applying make-up behind the wheel all the time.
How about instead of legislation to outlaw distractions, we make people more culpable for damage they inflict by being irresponsible?