No Texting While Driving on Alberta Highways! Also No Watching Movies…

In November, Alberta legislature again discussed distracted drivers; texting, talking on cell phones, eating, holding pets, and any other activities inside of a vehicle which would keep a driver from concentrating on the road. In the near future, drivers will get a fine if they get caught driving while distracted. There has been a lot of people complaining that big brother is stepping in where he isn’t wanted. In some ways I agree, but the lack of common sense shown by so many drivers is going to result in less freedom for everyone. As usual, a few bad actors who won’t quit texting and driving, who won’t stop shaving on the freeway,and who won’t put their makeup on at home are going to wreck it for the rest of us.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed some pretty stupid driver behavior on Alberta highways. More than once I’ve seen men with shaving cream on their faces, driving and using the rear view mirror to shave with a bladed razor. Women use that same mirror to put on various makeup items behind the wheel. These people need to get a life and use their time more efficiently. The rest of us take care of our personal grooming in the comfort of our homes, not in the comfort of our vehicles while traveling above the speed limit on a busy road. Why should these people risk the lives of others that they share the road with, just because they can’t be bothered to get up early enough?

Everyone eats and drinks coffee or other beverages while driving. It’s pretty common to pass someone on the road chowing down on some sort of food, and that’s fine with me. With the use of common sense, I don’t really see a problem with that. Of course, extremely messy foods can spill and cause a distraction that could end up spilling blood on the highway too. It remains to be seen how far the law will go. Eating an apple behind the wheel seems much less hazardous to me than eating any sort of foods that require dip, for example.

What I do have a problem with is blatant stupidity. I recently saw a driver with a laptop precariously perched on her dash, watching a movie. There is so many things wrong with this that I can barely understand the thought processes that led to this. First of all, with the screen of the computer in the way, how in the world could anyone properly see the road ahead? This was a fairly big screen, not just a little netbook, so vision was indeed impaired. Second, what if she hit a bump and it fell on her or slid and hit the floor? Almost anyone would swerve and possibly get in trouble if their laptop fell down while they were watching it. And third, why in the world would anyone think it’s okay to watch a movie while they are driving?

To make matters worse, when this person was first spotted watching a movie while driving her vehicle, she was also talking on her phone, and eating! This activity has to seen as hazardous by anyone. No matter how good of a driver you think you are, you can’t react properly to road hazards if your viewing area through the windshield is reduced, your brain is preoccupied with a movie, you are having a conversation on your cell phone, and you’re eating. Even Chuck Norris can’t pull this one off!

Seeing this horrible example of thoughtlessness made me wonder if there isn’t a problem with multitasking. These days, everyone seems to think they can’t live without being plugged into some sort of electronic device at all times. In our society, it is pretty common to see people of all ages texting and walking, texting and driving, textng and eating, texting and talking. Couples can be seen texting while sitting opposite each other at a restaurant, silent except for the clicking of tiny buttons.  It boggles the mind. Are people texting while they make love too? I have no doubt that somewhere right now, a bride to be has interrupted her own wedding ceremony because a text came in on her crackberry. And of course, there will be a pall bearer somewhere that has to drop his end of the load because his iPhone just let him know the all important text god is calling his name.

It seems to me incredibly lame that no one is capable of driving from one point to another and maintaining full concentration on the road. Alberta drivers aren’t the only ones that text and drive, it is a wide spread problem. I wonder, how many people have died from texting while driving? But driving is only one part of our lives that are affected by this need to keep oneself preoccupied. Most people can’t stand silence, can’t be alone, and seem even afraid of it. The claim they are “bored”, but I think that really they are afraid. Afraid that without all of this technology, without texting, and without constant activity, they will be alone with themselves.The majority of people must not like themselves very much if they are so afraid to be alone with their own thoughts. Why else would they not even be able to quit texting and driving?

Prove me wrong. When you drive down the road, put your cell phone down and concentrate on the road. Especially if you are sharing a road with me in Alberta, Canada. I don’t want some lousy distracted driver causing an accident that might kill me, my wife, my children, or anyone else I know. I’m sure you don’t want to be responsible for killing anyone either, so please strap on a pair and quit it. And for the love of Pete, don’t watch a movie while driving. That’s just silly, as well as dangerous.

One thought on “No Texting While Driving on Alberta Highways! Also No Watching Movies…

  1. I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER LLC
    OTTER app

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