Do Stupid People Require Big Government?

This morning’s post was inspired by a tweet thread between @kirkyuhnke and @Jesse about texting while driving.

I saw it coming, but thought I would be different… being a parent changes everything.

Recently, my inbox was hit with one of those mass forwards, you know, the kind that one person ALWAYS sends you even though you tell them repeatedly, “STOP! For the love of all that’s decent–STOP!” This particular message relayed a story from last October 2008 regarding a little boy who was injured in the car accident. The point of the email was banning text messaging while driving.

Long time readers know I have posted against cell phone bans since 2001. I revisited cell phone usage in 2003 and in 2004 I ranted many a time about cell phone etiquette and bathroom phone calls.

My opinion about stupid people hasn’t changed, but I’m starting to rethink my position about what we do about it. As a younger man, the idea that the government would regulate my ability to drive just went against my core because frankly I hate being told what to do. I am Joe Opposite when it comes to listening to authority. Loyal readers know I have a track record of dissenting opinion with “the Man.” In terms of cell phones, I used a headset while driving long before bluetooth was an option just because it was common sense. I’ve even been known to–God forbid–let my phone go to voicemail when I’m driving or at least pull over somewhere to take that important call. I believe I’m fully capable of driving while using my cell phone, but I firmly believe that YOU CAN’T.

Texting while driving is not the same thing as talking.

But then… it is. Talking, texting, eating, doing your makeup, changing CDs, these are just a few of the things that modern day drivers do during the course of their daily commute. Bottom line, when you’re doing something else in your car YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD.

I used to think that stupid people were the exception, but now I’m wondering if they’re the norm. A moment ago I made a statement about my capabilities versus yours, and truly I didn’t mean that. However, I think that’s the problem, I believe everyone tells themselves that same thing, “I’m capable, go harass the idiots.”

I still don’t agree that a ban on cell phones is good legislation, however, I believe stiffer penalties for those individuals that cause accidents would make people reconsider the need to do such things.

Last week I was drivin’ to dinner when I received a call from an important client. I could have picked it up, but then my daughter was in the back seat so I let the call go to voicemail.