Space Ramblings

No Law is Enough

In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation committee that would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets — runners and other exercisers included.

I’m trying to get a grip on how crazy this is and coming up short. How would you even enforce this beast? Arrest and ticket anyone wearing a bluetooth device or earphones? Require people to remove them when crossing the street.

The New York bill was proposed by State Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat who has grown alarmed by the amount of distraction he sees on the streets in his neighborhood and across New York City. Since September, Mr. Kruger wrote in the bill, three pedestrians have been killed and one was critically injured while crossing streets and listening to music through headphones.

“We’re taught from knee-high to look in both directions, wait, listen and then cross,” he said. “You can perform none of those functions if you are engaged in some kind of wired activity.”

Actually you can. Kruger may not be able to. People today routinely listen to music while walking. Being hit by a car while listening to music is not proof of anything, except the laws of probability. This bill will probably go nowhere, but Kruger will show that he’s actively engaged or whatever he’s trying to show. Penalizing drivers for talking and driving might be a thing, because they’re in control of huge masses of metal moving at high speeds. No pedestrian has ever run into a car.

Violators would be required to appear in court, and revenue from the $100 fines would go to a fund to educate people on the dangers of device distractions, the senator said.

I have a better idea. How about a 100 dollar fine for Senators who propose nuisance legislation. The revenue from the fines would go into a fund to educate on how to do their jobs.

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