DISTRACTED DRIVERS

April 4, 2011 — Leave a comment

Have you heard the latest?  This mantra of “distracted drivers” that is so pervasive in our culture has resulted in law enforcement officers being assigned the task of monitoring drivers to see if they are texting while driving.  Exactly HOW they are supposed to see if someone is texting while speeding past them at 60 miles an hour is a mystery to me.

But I think we are focusing on the miniscule and missing the big picture here.  How distracting is texting and how many people are actually texting while driving?  There’s you a research project that is just waiting for government funding of 85 million dollars.  Maybe I’ll apply for the research project myself.

But until then, let’s get some laws passed that will do away with some very obvious distractions to drivers.  I offer this list as a beginning (and ask you to add your own):

Billboards – Those gigantic commercials that line the highways.  Bright lettering, artful photography, alluring models all draw the eye to them.

It is quite befuddling sometimes to figure out what a billboard actually says.  I’ve had to stop in the middle of traffic before just so I could complete my reading of a billboard, especially the kind that rotate and are actually three billboards in one.

I am amazed how upset some drivers can be at my efforts to keep abreast of my highway reading material.

I say just cut them all down if I’m not going to be allowed to read them at my leisure.
XM/Sirius Radio – To say this is an upgrade from your regular radio is like saying your IPad is an upgrade from a #2 pencil.  It has well over 200 stations to listen to. And trust me, the name of the station tells you nothing about what kind of music is played (“The Pulse,” “The Blend,” “Air Mystique”).   How is a person supposed to sort through all the channels while keeping their eye on the road?  I tell you it is impossible!

This was my explanation to the bicycle rider that I clipped with my side mirror.  I went back and found him lying in a ditch with his arm and leg bent in places where there wasn’t a joint.  “I’m sorry,” I explained.  “I was switching from ‘Bloomberg,’ to ‘The Foxhole’ and didn’t have time to look where I was going.”)

Ban it from the airways!

College age girls wearing sports bras and shorts while jogging – How is a red-blooded American male supposed to keep his eyes on the road with such a distraction?!  I know some men who have ended up in the chiropractor’s office because of a serious case of whiplash.  When asked for the cause of their injury they make up the most confounded stories.  “It was the darndest thing Doc.  I was helping my wife clean the dishes.  I picked up the sausage casserole and I felt this sharp, stabbing pain in my neck.”

Make a law requiring these girls to wear burqa’s while jogging!
College age boys wearing shorts and no t-shirts while jogging– Please ladies, don’t even try to feign innocence.

A middle-aged woman can spot one of these Adonises coming toward her from three fourths of a mile away.  They release their grip on the steering wheel and plunge both hands into their purse.  Out comes the mascara and lipstick.  Down comes the visor with lighted mirror; three swipes of the wand on each eyelash and a gliding around the lips, turning them crimson.  A hard slap sends the visor back in place.

Creeping at fifteen miles per hour she approaches her unsuspecting quarry.

Don’t be deceived.  Those traffic pileups of thirty or forty cars that you read about are not the result of weather conditions.

Put these boys in overalls and long sleeve shirts!

Two year old children – The only people this item will be a surprise to are the ones who have never had children.  When my children were growing up we never heard of “car seats.”  They stood up on the seats, laid down in the back window, and slept on the floorboard.  If you needed to get hold of one of them, you simply waited for them to come running (or climbing) past you.

Nowadays kids are strapped in a seat like a pilot in an F-16.  They scream and flail their arms and legs like they’ve been buckled into the electric chair and the warden is about to throw the lever.  No one is capable of ignoring their gyrations and pleas. But it’s impossible to reach them unless you have the wingspan of an NBA player.

The rear view mirror is useless in determining if there is a python in the back seat about to devour your child.  You have to either lift yourself from your seat to get an angle to see them or you move the mirror which makes it useless for looking at traffic.

The solution seems to be to make it illegal for children to ride in a vehicle until they are five years old or older.

There are other distractions that I’m considering putting into a proposed law:  wheat fields in the spring; dogwood trees in bloom; a full moon on a clear night; squirrels crossing the road.  But I have much more research to do.  Hopefully I will qualify for that government funding!

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