Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Commuting to Purgatory

The State of Washington's House has passed a bill that would make it a crime to send text messages while driving.

Some critics contend that this law is too narrowly focused and that the government should target distracted driving regardless of the specific mechanism of distraction.

I think this problem is yet another symptom of the costs of our society's addiction to oil and the exaltation of car culture.

The lack of a viable public transportation system is a tragedy. People spend so much time in their cars commuting that they get bored, they begin to break the most basic of traffic laws. They try to make the time productive by calling friends or sending text messages while driving. From a safety perspective, this is not a good idea. I understand the urge to outlaw the behavior, but we are just treating the symptom of the symptom with yet another unenforceable law.

The real problem is the huge amount of time that so many Americans spend commuting by car. Urban sprawl and car culture lead to foreseeable problems.

No comments: