Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Horse and Buggy Redux

By AB Plum

A rep from the National Transportation Safety Board recently exhorted the California legislature to pass a law banning all cellphone use while driving. Yes, this included hands-free usage while behind the wheel.

Yaaaay!

Ha-ha.

Such a law will pass when cows give chocolate milk.
Or when we find gold coins in the street.
Or when parents stop giving their kids phones at age 3 (and younger).
Or when couples go to dinner and actually talk to each other without their cells on the table.
Or when non-emergency workers leave their phones in a room other than the bedroom.
Or when pedestrians cross streets looking around them versus texting on their cells.

Do I sound like a Luddite?

Guilty.

But … I realize how unenforceable such a law would be. At the same time, I wonder if stronger restrictions are possible with teenage drivers? All the multi-tasking myths aside, driving requires concentration. Talking on a phone is distracting. Ergo, chances of accidents go up.

Of course teenagers counter with the irrefutable argument, "our reflexes are better than old people's reflexes, so if they can use a hands-free cell, why can't we?

The discussion will go on and on. Legislators will avoid taking action because they're politicians. Twenty years from now, babies will be born clutching cell phones in their hands—an electronic umbilical cord which won't get cut at delivery.

Did our great-great-great-great grandparents debate the pros and cons of reading the newspaper while driving their horse-drawn buggies?

What about you? Are you a hands-free driver? Do you ride with a teenage driver who chats on her phone while navigating traffic?

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AB Plum gives her cellphone number to her husband, children, brother, and best friend. They know better than to call her on it because she rarely carries it—especially in her car. An unrepentant Luddite, she lives and writes in the heart of Silicon Valley. She's considering writing a Sci-Fi novella about a society without cellphones.

Her latest mystery novel, All Things Considered, releases on April 25. "How does an insomniac sleep through two bullets that killed her rock-star lover?" Preorder here and solve the mystery. 

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