A banner day for legal idiocy

Normally it takes idiot homophobia for our government to make me ashamed to live in Virginia, but both the judicial branch and the legislative branch are conspiring to make me frustrated with driving law too. Maybe the two groups can come together to ban homosexuals from driving, call it the Fighting Against Gay Driving In the Exurbs act or something – they like clever names.

On the “your choice of ice storms” front, the judge in my favorite reckless driving case has reduced the reckless jackass’ punishment to, effectively, time served. I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that someone who thinks nothing of endangering the lives of other drivers also thinks little of the laws that govern paying for the things you purchase. When the time came to release her they discovered an open warrant for her arrest since she “was wanted in Hernando, Miss., for “insufficient funds,” or writing bad checks in July 2005.” Here’s hoping she actually paid for the drink she threw.

Over at the legislative end of the short bus, we have lawmakers pushing a bill to put penalties in place for teens who use their cellphones when driving. Through some mechanism that I do not understand, driving while using a cellphone is perfectly legal and okay unless you have an excess of hormones and are going through puberty, in which case it’s dangerous and should be punished. Obviously this is the case, since if it was just a matter of experience the law would instead specify people who have less than two years driving under their belt rather than teens.

Or maybe it’s only dangerous when it’s done by people who are 15, 16 or 17 and therefor not yet old enough to vote out cowardly lawmakers. If driving while using your phone is dangerous – and I am open to being convinced – then it should be banned, period. This kind of thing is just chickenshit posturing at the expense of the one group powerless against you. For shame.

2 Comments so far

  1. MBFan#2 (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

    I agree. I don’t think it should be limited to teenagers – it should be banned, period. I admit and I am ashamed that I am an offender.

    However, after I heard a story on NPR about how someone, going 60 mph, ploughed into a parked car at a railroad stop and ended up killing the occupants inside because the car ended up in the path of the coming train and it turned out that the driver was on his cell phone and not paying attention, I am trying to break my habit of picking up the cellphone when I remember I need to call someone while I am driving or when it rings.

    Do lawmakers justify their jobs by creating laws that are already in place to address these issues? Basically, there is a law already for this kind of behavior. It’s called driving recklessly. The definition of “reckless” is: foolishly heedless of danger, proceeding from carelessness or rashness. Driving requires 100% attention, esp. when you realize that you are driving 2 tonnes of steel/rubber at speeds that could hurt on impact.

    It’s good that they recognize a problem but I think they are going the wrong way about it. Perhaps they need to work with cell phone companies and car manufacturers to disable cell phone use while the engine of a car is running.

  2. JW (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 9:25 am

    So they probably should have just banned it outright, but is it honestly worth ranting about that they took a step in the right direction? “Legal idiocy” is laying it on a bit too thick, I think.

    If you really are looking for some evidence, here’s just one study I’ve read on the subject. If you do some googling around you should be able to find some more academic journal articles about it.

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