"Texting while driving is not just a bad habit," Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York said last week, "it's a deadly one." So begins the witch-hunt for people who are guilty of DWT (driving while texting).
If Senator Schumer's legislation passes into law, DWT would be banned, and gifted omnitaskers such as myself would be shunned by society and prosecuted. srsly, sad day 4 us :(
Clearly, Schumer hasn't seen my DWT skills. If he had, he never would've proposed this legislation. If the senator could see my technique, he'd say, "dude ur amzng" and filibuster his own bill.
Because for me, DWT is like speaking while walking, or patting your head while rubbing your tummy: I make it look easy. And done right, it's a thing of natural beauty, a ballet of manual and technical dexterity rivaled only by playing Scrabble while operating heavy construction equipment.
Admit it: You think the same thing. It's safe for you to text – but it should be banned for everyone else!
Back to reality.
When I heard about the texting bill, I honestly thought, "The jig is up." I text while I drive, and I kid myself into thinking I do it safely – maybe only at stoplights, or sneaking in a word or two with open road ahead. But it's dangerous, and it shows poor judgment. So let's be real about this: The issue isn't just texting while driving, it's composing full e-mails while driving too. Browsing the music collection. Searching Google Maps. And checking Facebook. All these things can be done on the average smart phone while driving. (Scrabble, too.)
Now, self-assured critics will say, "What's next, banning my morning coffee? Or the car radio? Or shaving?" To which, I say: Stop shaving while driving. That's more about personal dignity than public safety, but if Schumer wants to ban shaving while driving also, I'm on board.
Dissenters seem to forget that several states have already outlawed hand-held phone use for drivers. So why should texting – which detracts far more attention from the road – be tolerated?
Holding a phone to your ear is one thing. Navigating a keyboard with one thumb between furtive glances at the road is something else entirely: It's driving without looking. Which is as dumb as it is dangerous. A recent study showed that texters are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident. In light of this and a dose of common sense, Schumer's legislation is a no-brainer.
We all think we're better than the next guy. In fact, I considered submitting the whole of this op-ed via serial text-message from the 405 just to prove it. But the stupidity of the feat outweighed the novelty. Even as a primary offender, I welcome a nationwide ban. Federal law might nudge more Americans to do the right thing: Drive now, text later.
Next time I get a text in the car, I'll summon a stoic resolve and declare aloud, "lol, m driving now, ttyl :)."