Last week, Columbus Police cracked down hard on distracted drivers in North Columbus, citing folks for texting while driving, putting on makeup while driving and one driver for solving a Rubik’s Cube while doing yoga and driving. I say that driver should get a pass — that’s impressive!
They cited nearly 100 drivers for distracted driving last Thursday, which means that about 34,567 got away with distracted driving last Thursday. Every driver must be distracted because there’s no way every driver just totally forgot what the word “yield” means or how to use a turn signal. They’re obviously asking Siri about the eyeliner they’re trying to put on.
I see it all the time, and I hope police repeat these efforts on occasion — at least enough to keep it in the back of folks’ minds. I wish they’d occasionally crack down on the losers who throw their cigarette butts onto the streets and the folks who blare horrible music because their mommies didn’t love them enough and they desperately require your attention.
I know for a fact that these kinds of stings help people think about these issues. I hadn’t been writing a newspaper column for very long when Georgia passed its seat belt law. At the time, being slightly younger and even stupider than I am now, I hated wearing a seat belt. It’s government overreach, I argued.
A Columbus Police officer wasn’t really interested in my political views when he stopped me for not wearing a seat belt in the wee hours of the morning after I pulled a late shift at the paper. He looked at my license, then looked at me. Then he looked at the license and looked at me again before tossing it in my lap and walking off.
“#@& it, you’ll make fun of me in the paper,” he said as he left.
From that point on, though, I wore my seat belt. And by the time I became a father, seat belts seemed like a really good idea to me. So does driving non-distracted.
I’m still extremely wary of driverless cars. I don’t want my Toyota deciding to slam on brakes if a rabbit runs in front of the truck. There are just some decisions that require a little bit of human reasoning. Although, when you look around at the world today, cars might not just be smarter drivers — they could probably do a better job of governing the world.
Perhaps they’ll eventually work out the kinks in today’s driverless cars. If they do, our roadways might be an awful lot safer. Technology usually evolves for the better — well, except for all those stupid phone apps that distract today’s drivers. Of course, you know what’s going to come shortly after we are all being chauffeured by driverless cars: distracted driverless cars.
“Excuse me, Mr. Toyota, you want to pick a lane?!”
“Did you see that hot little Mercedes convertible over there? She winked her headlight at me! How ’bout you go back to checking Facebook and let me drive! Dang, check out those tail lights!”
“She is so out of your league.”
“I will pull over and make you walk.”
“Sorry. Drive on.”
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