Another lesson on Cause and Effect

It seems that my previous lesson in cause and effect (here: did not have it’s intended effect.

The Texting and Driving bill has passed the Oklahoma Senate, and then some:

Via the

“The measure initially made texting and driving a secondary offense but Sen. Ervin Yen, R-OKC, was successful in amending the measure go make it a primary offense” 

Meaning, that if a cop sees you texting, he can pull you over just for that, wheras before the cop would have to pull you over for something else (say, speeding) and add texting to the charges.

Steve Byas, in the winter edition of the Oklahoma Constitution, correctly points out that this sort of legislation is just another “feel good law” – it makes people feel good, but it does not actually do anything.  

“Sharp’s Bill, SB 67, proposes to fine a motorist up to one thousand dollars PLUS a year in jail.  [Chuck] Mai said, ‘we need to encourage motorists to limit all distractions.’ I will have to admit making the consequences a year in jail some pretty stiff encouragement.  I would almost say that calling the putting of someone behind bars “encouragement” is almost like something out of George Orwell.” 

According to information from AAA, six out of ten auto accidents occur among teens due to distracted driving.

Yet, only 12% of those distracted driving accidents deal with texting or use of a cell phone.  15% are caused by interaction with one or more passengers in the car; 10% are caused by looking at something within the vehicle; 9% are caused by looking at something outside the vehicle; 8% are caused by singing or dancing to music.

So then, if our goal is to “limit distractions,” we should be perfectly justified in banning these things too.

Talk to another passenger in the car?  One year in the slammer!

Look at something inside or outside the vehicle?  One year in the slammer!

Sing along with your favorite song on the radio?  One year in the slammer!

But this is absurd – just as absurd as this texting and driving bill.  This is just another bit of useless legislation accompanied only by noise and fanfare – but no real results.

We are trying to fight something that is inevitable.  If we wish to prevent distracted driving, punish distracted driving: punish the effect.  But do not try and punish the causes, for they are many and varied.


One thought on “Another lesson on Cause and Effect”

  1. Of course texting while driving should be banned. You cited “only 12%” of distracted driving involves texting. Well, that will be a 12% reduction in distracted driving if everyone obeys the new law. Also, you’re not considering the lives that won’t be lost in a texting accident once the law is in place. And how does someone dance in a car? If that’s even possible, that should be banned as well!

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