The new law which takes effect on July 1st has caused a lot of controversy.
It is now illegal to use a cell phone, tablet, GPS or any other handheld devices when operating a motor vehicle.
I don’t think there are many people who will argue the fact that way too many accidents have been caused by people, especially young adults, who don’t have the common sense to realize that trying to text while attempting to drive is a stupid and dangerous thing.
The controversy itself revolves around the extent of the law. Adding in some prohibitions that to some who agree with the law’s intent find really make no sense.
You see, as of July 1st, it is now not just illegal to use a handheld device when behind the wheel but it is now illegal to use or even touch said device while you are stopped in your car at a red light, stop sign or in traffic.
If you are taking a quick glance through the print issue of this week’s Weirs Times while sitting in your car at a red light waiting for it to change to green, you are acting as a law abiding citizen and following the law.
If you are waiting at the same red light, waiting for it to turn green, and looking at this week’s paper online with your smartphone, you are a scofflaw and will be fined if caught.
If you are stuck in a stalled traffic jam and it looks like you might be there for awhile and you decide to unwrap and eat that bacon double cheeseburger, onion rings and chocolate shake meal you were planning on eating at home, you are not doing any harm.
If you are stuck in that same stalled traffic jam and it looks like you are going to be there for awhile and you are beginning to get very hungry and you glance to your left to witness someone devouring a bacon double cheeseburger, onion rings and chocolate shake, you might decide to use your smartphone to order take out that you can pick up after you get out of the traffic jam and eat quietly at home. In this case you could be hit with a large fine, you will also be considered a law breaker.
Will these kinds of things actually happen? Who knows? But it is the way the law is written.
Still, this type of law is not new.
It has really always been illegal to be talking and texting on your phone, as well as eating, reading, putting on your makeup and even changing the radio station in your car if it causes you to take your eyes off the road. It’s called the Distracted Driver Law and it has been on the books for years in New Hampshire.
Still, some drivers, even those who are convinced that they were given a gift by God of being the best driver in the universe (and all of you know who you are), are driving while eating three course meals, while primping themselves in the rearview mirror, while searching for the latest business news on the radio, while travelling at 80 miles an hour down the highway, their “Best Driver In The World” award swinging from their rearview mirror.
With this new law they just might think that what they are doing is fine, as long as they aren’t talking on their cell phone when, in fact, they’ve been breaking the law for years.
It’s never going to be easy to stop people who make bad choices from continuing to make them. It’s called Free Will. No matter what the law is, they will continue to make those bad choices and bad things will happen. Then someone will think up a new law that will only make life more restrictive for those who act responsibly while the ones who are the reasons for the new law will disregard it and continue to make those bad choices over and over.
That’s just Human Nature.
Whether we like it or not, it is now a law. Since we all have to live with it, I really hope that it will help the problem, but I have my doubts.
Still, if you are one of the responsible ones sitting in a traffic jam looking at the guy in the car next to you devouring a double cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake and you refrain from using your phone to place that takeout order, take heart, the diet police should be coming up with some new laws any day now to stop this dangerous behavior.
Happy Independence Day!!
Visit Brendan’s website for information on his books and speaking engagements at brendantsmith.com or follow his blog at FoolinNH.com