A Lesson on Cause and Effect…

…certainly our state legislators are in need of such a lesson.

A certain cause gives way to an effect, which may also lead to a series of effects.

HB 1965 passed the house and is now being considered in the Senate.  Its purpose?  To ban texting while driving, for sake of “safety.”  Why anyone would want to keep in constant, never ending contact with everyone is beyond me – but that isn’t the focus here.

Our goal is to prevent reckless driving – very well.  Instead of punishing based on the effect (reckless driving) we seek to punish the perceived causes of reckless driving.   However, can it not be said that a certain cause does not always give way to the same effect?

Let’s say you are texting while driving.  Two scenarios present themselves: either you are so bad about it that you pose a danger to other drivers, or you are capable enough to handle both operations at once.  The former causes reckless driving – the latter does not.

Or, one is constantly on the phone during the duration of the drive, constantly posing a danger.  The other does so once or twice during the duration of the trip briefly.  If caught, the punishment would be the same for both persons.

Would it be fair to punish both?  I don’t think so.

Similarly, with intoxicated driving.  Some intoxicated drivers will pose a danger to other drivers, others will not.  The former is not able to handle his alcohol; the latter handles it well enough to make their way home without posing a danger to anyone.  However, the law seeks to punish both (if they are caught) and technically, you can make it to your driveway safe and sound – and still be busted for intoxication while driving.

Here we are punishing causes, not effects.

One may say that we could not really know if you pose a danger to others until you do end up harming others.  Therefore, in order to be safe, we must punish and in the process ruin, the life of any driver caught with a bit of alcohol on his breath.

Granted, the consequences of the texting law is less severe (a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for every subsequent offense) but the idea is all the same – punishing causes instead of effects.

But not only are we trying to fight causes, but we are also trying to fight the inevitable.

Cars are dangerous things; there will always be fatalities on the roads, unfortunately – such is life.  Not all fatalities are a result of a distraction or intoxication.  Some are just from general incompetence or from being a butthole (and the Oklahoma roads are an immense testament to this problem).  How are we to punish this?

We should then punish the effect – reckless driving – and not these causes.   You know, swerving in and out of traffic, driving too fast, constantly on another driver’s tail, I could go on – these are the reasons for accidents.

Then too, are we actually so naïve as to think the state has in mind the personal safety of everyone?  Let’s see this for what it is: merely another way to further fill the coffers of a rapidly expanding police force.

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