Vermont Ups the Nanny Ante

If you were in midsentence composing your slippery slope "what are they going to ban next?" response to yesterday's proposed ban on pedestrians wearing iPods, hang on .

Vermont lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban eating, drinking, smoking, reading, writing, personal grooming, playing an instrument, "interacting with pets or cargo," talking on a cell phone or using any other personal communication device while driving. The punishment: a fine of up to $600.

Similar bills are under consideration in Maryland and Texas, and Connecticut has passed one that generically bans any activity that could interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle.

On some preposterously paternalistic level, these bans make sense. Most all of the activities listed above have been shown in studies to be more distracting to drivers than a cell phone conversation, which is now banned in much of the country. Of course, many of those same studies show the most distracting activities are (1) having kids in the backseat, and (2) fumbling with the radio/CD player. And neither of those are likely to be banned (yet).

The sponsor of the Vermont law says he proposed it after his wife saw someone playing the flute while driving. Whether or not you buy that story (I don't), it seems like a moronic reason to pass such a sweeping piece of legislation. Some idiot was playing a flute, so you ban eating a sandwich?

Some people are perfectly capable of talking on a cell phone, drinking coffee, or having a dog in the backseat without endangering themselves or anyone else on the road. Others can have eyes on the road, hand in the 10-2 position, and seatbelt securely fastened -- and still drive like a drunk 12-year-old.

So here's a novel idea: Why not ignore what's going on inside the car, and just pull people over and fine them when they drive recklessly?

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  • Guy Montag||

    "interacting with pets or cargo,"

    Better put up signs for visitors from Washington

  • ||

    All of these don't this or that while driving laws are just an excuse for profile stops. How do you disprove that someone was talking on a cell phone or interacting with cargo when they were pulled over? You can't. They basically give the police the right to pull over anyone at anytime of their choosing. It is a great deal if your goal is to harass black drivers with out of state plates. What was that about Vermont being this progressive state?

  • ||

    Because, as we all know, in the libertarian paradise of fully privatized roads, the owners wouldn't impose any rules either, nor would the market (i.e. drivers) demand any.

    I think the Vermont bill is a bit much, and I think it's hilarious that a New York state assemblyperson thinks personal stereos with headphones first became popular a few years ago when Apple intrioduced the iPod. But what's behind the stance here? That rules governing the use of roads are bad, or just that government has no business making rules, so rules should be suspended until the great revolution comes and private owners can re-impose them?

  • ||

    Looks like I can still get a blow job while driving.

  • Dan T.||

    While I agree that this proposed law seems to be overreaching, it doesn't qualify as a "nanny" law because the state is not protecting people from themselves, but rather protecting people from other drivers engaging in (allegedly) unsafe practices.

  • Guy Montag||

    While I agree that this proposed law seems to be overreaching, it doesn't qualify as a "nanny" law because the state is not protecting people from themselves, but rather protecting people from other drivers engaging in (allegedly) unsafe practices.

    Since the air bag and seat belt requirement already protect them from their own bad driving.

  • ed||

    What was that about Vermont being this progressive state?

    "Progressive" now means nosy nanny biotch, just as "liberal" has come to mean hand-wringing bed-wetter. Happy to help.

  • ||

    Re: Koppelman's question

    I think the answer to your question is that we don't only evaluate the rules for public spaces based on who's making the rule. We also evaluate them based on whether or not they're absurd.

    I'm a resident of Vermont, and as such I get to have an opinion about whether a particular rule of the road makes sense or not. "What's behind the stance here" is that the dream that micromanagement of behavior will lead to universally good outcomes inevitably leads to absurdities like this one, and if the use of ridicule like this blog post will discourage that dream, that's a good thing.

    Frankly anyone who thinks that preventing drivers from drinking coffee while driving up Route 7 in February after a snowstorm is going to make the roads safer is nuts, anyway. Hang the statistics.

    Is there a link for this article? I can't find it using mouseover. I'd like to know who the legislator is so I can call his office.

  • Christopher Monnier||

    The worst part of this law is that it regulates the input (driving behavior) instead of or in addition to the output (whether you're driving recklessly or not).

    In general, I think it's safe to say that libertarians really only want laws regulating outputs. This is consistent with the idea that you can do (input) whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone (output) else.

  • Guy Montag||

    VT still has one of the best concealed carry rules out there.

    How long before they follow NYC and Chicago on that one?

  • ||

    Damn, the morning commute is the best time to practice banjo.

  • Dan T.||

    In general, I think it's safe to say that libertarians really only want laws regulating outputs. This is consistent with the idea that you can do (input) whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone (output) else.

    You're right, and I think that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but isn't so great in practice. Using this way of thinking, you'd have to agree that it should be legal to fire a handgun into a crowd…as long as you don't hit anybody. I'm not sure that's the kind of society people are going to want to live in.

  • Guy Montag||

    Others can have eyes on the road, hand in the 10-2 position, and seatbelt securely fastened -- and still drive like a drunk 12-year-old.

    Seems like the unidentified author of this piece has seen the Washington, DC Belteay style before.

    I have noticed that it is spreading across the country too, like the West Nile virus.

  • ||

    We've been discussing the proposed NYC Ipod pedestrian ban over at Steve Gilliard's blog. Everyone who's weighed in so far thinks this is a deranged piece of nanny-ism, unnecessary, stupid, etc., etc. and so forth.

    As one commentator put it: "you can't legislate against stupidity."

    So you see, there IS an overlap between progressives and libertarians.

  • Guy Montag||

    Using this way of thinking, you'd have to agree that it should be legal to fire a handgun into a crowd…as long as you don't hit anybody.

    Depends on the crowd.

  • ||

    It's obvious that Ralph Nader needs to get back to his first passion. He needs to launch a movement to requre auto makers to build glass booths around the drivers seat to keep all distractions from within the car away from the driver. It would also have a frequency generator that would disrupt all cell phone and iPod use.

  • ||

    Guy,

    Come to Atlanta, they are even worse. Worse than Washington, worse that Houston. It is amazing how dangerous and crazy people are in this town.

  • ||

    Moronic legistation yes. Exactly why nothing is done unless it affects a politician or his family directly. Typical knee jerk reaction to a perceived issue of importance now that it seems to affect they themselves.

    This is precisly why I say we need to call in Anon drug deal tips to cops and have them kicking in politicians and judges families doors. It will only take a few getting shot to bring about the change that no amount of common sense seems to be able to right now. I can promise you, if a few judges and politicians families were affected by their own laws and policies as the rest of us are they would be OUTRAGED and make some move towards changing.

    Now will the change be better, who knows since they are still mindless idiots to begin with so no telling.

    As for cell phones.

    Watch at any turn light as people go by and see how many are on the phone, scary to say the least. While I don't want a drunk on the road I certainly don't want people mentally impaired to the same degree in every other car driving around me in what is essentially a loaded gun.

    Our societies outlook on car wrecks and deaths is quite skewed, seatbelt laws but not seatbelts in school buses, does this make sense. You can't go to the gun range and talk on your cell phone while handling your firearm and shooting, why should you be able to drive a 2 ton weapon 60 mph while doing the same?

    I am not one to embrace new law after law for everything or nanny state mentality, but this if anything is a true public safety issue I don't know what would be.

  • Zubon||

    As a note, you should be driving at 9 and 3 these days in most cars. Airbag design never assumed that your arms would be in the way.

  • ||

    You're right, and I think that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but isn't so great in practice. Using this way of thinking, you'd have to agree that it should be legal to fire a handgun into a crowd…as long as you don't hit anybody. I'm not sure that's the kind of society people are going to want to live in.


    Dan,

    Treating all increased risks as alike(and as guaranteed deaths) is what leads to this sort of legislation. Unless you seriously mean to compare taking a sip a coffee while driving to firing a gun into a crowd.

  • ||

    Using this way of thinking, you'd have to agree that it should be legal to fire a handgun into a crowd…as long as you don't hit anybody.

    That doesn't follow at all.

    Christopher Monnier didn't say that crashing into someone was the output deserving of legal action. He said driving recklessly was the output deserving of legal action.

    Shooting into a crowd -- or, frankly, anywhere you are not sure of the target -- is reckless endangerment deserving of legal action.

  • Dave W.||

    We've been discussing the proposed NYC Ipod pedestrian ban over at Steve Gilliard's blog. Everyone who's weighed in so far thinks this is a deranged piece of nanny-ism, unnecessary, stupid, etc., etc. and so forth.

    what they should do is make jaywalking a worse offense if you jaywalk with headphones.

    However, these new laws should cover any sort of behavior that isn't already illegal under the jaywalking regulations.

    If the legislature handled the problem this way, then there would be no problem.

    I have to wonder whether auto insurance companies are pushing on local legislatures so that they end up playing out fewer claims when their covered drivers hit pedestrians (who happen to be wearing headphones).

  • Dave W.||

    --However, these new laws should not cover any sort of behavior--

    Preview is my friend . . .

  • Dan T.||

    That doesn't follow at all.

    Christopher Monnier didn't say that crashing into someone was the output deserving of legal action. He said driving recklessly was the output deserving of legal action.


    But reckless driving never hurt anybody (that was Mr. Monnier's criteria, remember) - it's crashing your car into them that does it. Besides, you've then got to define what is meant by "reckless driving" and that definition could easily include driving while distracted by your phone or sandwich.

  • ||

    When cops swear to serve and protect, they must also be promising to meet certain fundraising goals.

  • ||

    At least they haven't brought up "carsturbating".

  • Easy there, Paco||

    Hit and Runners:

    The vigilance is cool but this shit ain't gonna pass.

    Vermont has 150 state representatives for a state population of about 750,000.

    That much democracy is inimical to truly illiberal legislation. I'm no democracy-worshipper but I genuinely believe that democracy makes things at least mediocre. (If you have a very good pre-existing rule, it can do better than that. Why do you think that Vermont has such excellent gun laws?)

    This bill has no chance of passing. I know that these people elected Bernie Sanders so it's hard to have faith in them.

    Still, they've got a legislature that's democratic enough to act as a bulwark of liberty. Thank God.

  • ||

    I don't think it will pass, either.

    Tourism is the trump card here. Vermont is very dependent on tourism, most of which is undertaken by car. It's a small state, but it's underhighwayed on the New York side and it takes forever to drive anywhere. The legislature will realize that it's just not reasonable to expect New York and Massachusetts residents [not to mention Vermont residents traveling in-state] to drive for pleasure for hours on local roads without having a cup of coffee.

    I can just see the reactions people would have if all the New York and Connecticut people driving up 7 and 100 to go to the ski resorts were pulled over for having a soda in their cup holder.

  • Guy Montag||

    Dee and John,

    Purly non-scientific and full of my own bias observations (does that make me a climatoligist?) the cars doing 4 lane U-turns on Crystal Drive in Arlington VA tend to be from DC and MD, places where cell phones without a headset are illegal for driving.

    Anyway, one is "allowed" to drive while talking on a phone in VA and it does not seem to affect them. Folks in DC and MD near DC do not seem to know a thing about driving, gadgeted up or not.

  • ||

    what they should do is make jaywalking a worse offense if you jaywalk with headphones.

    Which jaywalking outcome would be exacerbated by wearing headphones? The only one I can think of is that the pedestrian wouldn't hear a blaring horn or squealing brakes, and that carries with it the penalty of being hit by a ton and a half of steel, at which point a ticket is not really a corcern.

  • Christopher Monnier||

    But reckless driving never hurt anybody (that was Mr. Monnier's criteria, remember) - it's crashing your car into them that does it. Besides, you've then got to define what is meant by "reckless driving" and that definition could easily include driving while distracted by your phone or sandwich.

    Crashing your car into somebody doesn't hurt them either. It's the impact between them and the steering wheel that does it. Wait, that doesn't do it...it's your internal organs slamming against each other that does it. No, wait, it's the traumatic damage to your cells inside your organs...or maybe the interatomic interactions...or intra-atomic...ahhhh!!!

    Let me clarify...a proper law should address only something that poses a reasonable danger to other people. Eating a sandwich doesn't do this. As t->infinity, there's nothing about eating a sandwich that says you're bound to hurt someone. As t->infinity, probability dictates that at some point, driving recklessly will result in "hurt" to someone else (unless you're driving on a road alone, in which case there would be no such thing as driving recklessly because "reckless" assumes others are at risk).

  • Dave W.||

    Which jaywalking outcome would be exacerbated by wearing headphones?

    Exacerbated?

    Well, my main concern is that the headphones would cause and/or allow jaywalking accidents that wouldn't otherwise occur.

    here is a recent thread where my good buddy Sam "the Butcher" Franklin related a jaywalking fatality that he strongly believes would not have occurred absent the headphones:

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/118572.html#comments
    (see 12 pm reply)

    As far as accidents that are exacerbated by headphones, that would include accidents where evasive action is taken by the pedestrian somewhat later than it otherwise would because of the headphones. You seem to think this is a slim margin of accidents. You may be correct. This exacerbation aspect is not a primary concern.

  • ||

    "As one commentator put it: "you can't legislate against stupidity."

    If that were possible, most legislative bodies would be forced to close shop.

  • Dave W.||

    related a jaywalking fatality

    Correction:

    Sam's story was not, strictly speaking, a jaywalking fatality because it happened in a mall parking lot. However, it is representative of the kind of jaywalking accident that probly would not have happened absent the headphones.

  • ||

    I think this particular bill is overreaching, but I don't have a problem with -- I support -- legislative measures against demonstrably (e.g. statistically) dangerous behaviour such as cell-phone use while driving. Anecdotally, I've seen terrible drivers who are lucky not to be in an accident while yakking away, and they are a danger to ME and others, whether I'm walking or driving.

    It might be preferable in theory to ban "behaviour that dangerously impairs the driving ability of the driver" or something like that, but that seems far too vague to be enforceable; for some people talking with a passenger might be too distracting, but there's a bit of arbitrary line-drawing as to where to draw the line, cell-phone use is so endemic (pandemic?) and dangerous to others, banning it at least seems reasonable.

    By analogy, drunk (or otherwise impaired) driving is demonstrably dangerous, so prohibiting it is fine by me. Some people, especially due to past drinking habits, can handle more blood alcohol without the same level of impairment as others, but to make illegality a function of individual driving performance would be unreasonably (and unfairly) complicated.

  • Dan T.||

    Crashing your car into somebody doesn't hurt them either. It's the impact between them and the steering wheel that does it. Wait, that doesn't do it...it's your internal organs slamming against each other that does it. No, wait, it's the traumatic damage to your cells inside your organs...or maybe the interatomic interactions...or intra-atomic...ahhhh!!!

    Come on - an automobile collision always harms the people or things involved in the collision. Reckless driving is a subjective term that describes a course of action that might lead to somebody getting hurt.

    Let me clarify...a proper law should address only something that poses a reasonable danger to other people. Eating a sandwich doesn't do this. As t->infinity, there's nothing about eating a sandwich that says you're bound to hurt someone. As t->infinity, probability dictates that at some point, driving recklessly will result in "hurt" to someone else (unless you're driving on a road alone, in which case there would be no such thing as driving recklessly because "reckless" assumes others are at risk).

    I agree with you here, but this idea is very different from what you were saying earlier. And it's still possible that if you are trying to drive while eating a sandwich you are being reckless - or least more reckless than if you weren't trying to eat.

  • Dan T.||

    "As one commentator put it: "you can't legislate against stupidity."

    Sure you can. It's stupid to drive without a seatbelt, and so now seatbelts are required.

    The result: more people wear them, and thus a stupid behavior has been minimized.

  • Christopher Monnier||

    > And it's still possible that if you are trying to drive while eating a sandwich you are being reckless - or least more reckless than if you weren't trying to eat.

    Then if you're being reckless (i.e. performing in a manner that is bound to hurt soemone else at some point), you should be punished for that; there's already a law for it.

  • ||

    Why is Dave W./Sam Franklin being allowed to post as Dave W. again, and better yet, why is he being allowed to used one screen name to post about the other screen name?

    Nick

  • ||

    Another goofy one... My kid is no longer able to listen to his iPod on the schoolbus. Driver says they need to be listening for instructions in case of an emergency. Heck, the kids aren't even driving the bus! I can only imagine that the music on that thingee would keep my kid from noticing himself flying through the air while careening down imbankment without any seatbelt, the smell of burning flesh and glass getting blown into his face. Must be a GREAT song!

  • Guy Montag||

    Which jaywalking outcome would be exacerbated by wearing headphones?

    The blood on one of my 'hybrids', which the jaywalking, flipflop wearing, idiot will probably try to wipe up with his snot soaked sleve.

    You dent it you bout it. Now go finish bleeding on the sidewalk where you belong.

  • ||

    cell-phone use is so endemic (pandemic?) and dangerous to others, banning it at least seems reasonable.

    If cell phone use is so endemic and dangerous to others, then there should be a massive increase in traffic accidents in recent years as cell phone use as proliferated.

    I am not aware of such an increase. Is anyone else?

  • Guy Montag||

    The result: more people wear them, and thus a stupid behavior has been minimized.

    Actually, more stupid people wear them. The smart people wore them before they were required.

  • ||

    The Vermont State Patrol can already pull over anyone for any imagined offense right meow.

    Troper Foster: Meow, sir. Do you know how fast you were going?
    Motorist: Excuse me, I could have sworn you said meow.
    Foster: Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumpin' around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree? Am I drinking milk from a saucer? Do you see me eating mice?

  • grylliade||

    I have to wonder whether auto insurance companies are pushing on local legislatures so that they end up playing out fewer claims when their covered drivers hit pedestrians (who happen to be wearing headphones).



    You know, dude, modern psychology can do a lot to reduce paranoia. There are medications, counseling, all kinds of wonderful stuff.

  • Rhywun||

    The iPod ban is definitely nanny-statism. Either you're jaywalking and getting hit is your own damn fault, or you're not jaywalking and the driver is at fault if you get hit. Not sure how headphones figure into any of that.

    This stuff in Vermont though, I just can't get very worked up over it. Yeah, you can't legislate stupidity, but in this day and age everyone expects it anyway.

  • Guy Montag||

    de stijl,

    You are probably in the clear as long as you don't try to milk the trooper.

  • ||

    I dunno if you can legislate stupidity, but you sure as hell can elect it.

  • ||

    Forcing people like me to drive without a ready source of caffeine seems like a patently bad idea.

  • Dan T.||

    Actually, more stupid people wear them. The smart people wore them before they were required.

    Right, so the stupid people are just a little bit less stupid, because they're doing something smart now.

  • ||

    I guess I'm at a loss about concealed carry laws. If my handgun is concealed who would know? I laugh every time I go to the bank and am told by the posted sign that I'm not allowed in because of the sign. When I ask the teller if he/she knows if I'm carrying at that moment there is a bit of hysteria. Do bank robbers turn around and leave when they see the signs? If I go through the Drive -In window, am I in the bank? Can I smoke, put in an 8-track, or talk to my friend in the car (who has a handgun) if I'm at the drive-in window? Life is getting too complicated for a guy who uses English as a second language.

  • ||

    Dan T.,

    No they are still just as stupid as before. Why? Because they are not buckling up for the right reasons. They are not buckling up to protect themselves. They are buckling up to avoid breaking the law.

    Nick

  • ||

    You're right, and I think that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but isn't so great in practice. Using this way of thinking, you'd have to agree that it should be legal to fire a handgun into a crowd…as long as you don't hit anybody. I'm not sure that's the kind of society people are going to want to live in.

    In the example you give, being fired at by a handgun is an undesirable act, that should be illegal, even if it causes no direct physical harm... so your analogy fails. We would not ban the act of firing into a crowd simply to prevent a possible injury, we consider having a bullet crossing into your personal space to be a direct injury.

    That is, of course, assuming that the crowd did not explicity consent to being shot at. If it was a demonstration at the William Tell's World of Trick Shooting Mueseum, I would think differently.

    But reckless driving never hurt anybody (that was Mr. Monnier's criteria, remember) - it's crashing your car into them that does it.

    That is not true. Many times when I am driving, I must suddenly brake, or swerve into another lane, or somehow react in order to avoid an accident with a reckless driver. It could easily be argued that reckless driving, by forcing others to react in such a way as to avoid an accident, is an agressive act.

  • ||

    Well, my main concern is that the headphones would cause and/or allow jaywalking accidents that wouldn't otherwise occur.

    That assumes that the headphones are the cause of a person not looking before they cross the street. I don't think that the simple act of inserting earbuds turns an otherwise cautious person into reckless zombie.

    here is a recent thread where my good buddy Sam "the Butcher" Franklin related a jaywalking fatality that he strongly believes would not have occurred absent the headphones:

    Interesting, I'd have guessed that most people with DID would resent their other personalities. You seem to be having quite the party up there.

  • ed||

    flying through the air while careening down embankment without any seatbelt, the smell of burning flesh and glass getting blown into his face

    Sounds like the inspiration for every heavy metal song I've heard.

  • Chris Wuestefeld||

    Legislators seem to have one tool in their toolbox: banning things. (Well, two tools: I didn't count taxation).

    The point is that when they want to avoid an undesirable outcome, they look at anything that *might* lead to that outcome. Perhaps they should spend more time trying to find ways that the outcome could be avoided without curtailing our liberty.

    Maybe, in this case, something *positive* could be done, like ensuring that drivers have the proper skills and knowledge. I know here in NJ, people seem completely ignorant of turn signal usage and lane discipline. And I can't remember the last time I saw someone turn into the correct lane at interections having multiple turn lanes. Driving would be safer if everyone did it properly.

    In their negative-oriented legislation they're fighting an impossible battle: there's no way to enumerate all of the behaviors that could lead to the undesired outcome. They should approach it the other way around: You're OK as long as nothing bad happens. But if you're involved in an accident and it's found that you exercised poor judgment (flute playing, talking on cell phone), then perhaps you should be presumed liable.

  • ||

    They have cars in Vermont?

    A buggy's just fine for getting the syrup to market, and far less dangerous. The solid emissions are a bit problematic, however.

  • ||

    I just want to make a quick comment on Rhywun's statement about who's at fault in accidents. In every accident I've ever seen, both parties have been at least partly at fault. Maybe it was 90/10 instead of 50/50, but it's almost never completely one party's fault.

    The one I remember best is seeing three women walk across the street and get hit by a pickup truck that was backing up. The women decided it was a good idea to cross the street in the middle of the block without paying any attention. The driver decided it was a good idea to back up at 20mph without looking behind him. If either had been paying any attention, it wouldn't have happened.

    I think the iPod cases are probably similar. Sure, the pedestrian is dumb for not listening or looking, but a driver always has to be aware of the possibility that there will be someone out there who's deaf/a child/not paying attention.

  • Dave W.||

    Interesting, I'd have guessed that most people with DID would resent their other personalities. You seem to be having quite the party up there.

    I am switching back to Dave W. -- not trying to confuse anyone.

    Although Tim "Cavs" Cavanaugh wanted me not to use Dave W. (so ppl wouldn't confuse me with Dave "Weigs" Weigel), it seems that other posters were still calling me Dave or Dave W. Which made it look like I was trying to pull something when I wasn't.

    Frankly, I am surprised that people remember the Dave W. identity -- it has been a long time since I used it regularly -- but if Dave W. is how my regular readers think of me then Dave W. is what I will be.

    Hopefully people can tell me apart from Weigs because he is sort of mundane in his insights, while mine are b*tsh*t cr*z**.

    Hopefully that is the end of the name switching and thanks 4 reading!

  • ||

    This is in Vermont? Isn't Vermont the state all of the libertarians are supposed to move to?

  • coyote||

    Shouldn't we also ban manual transmissions?

    My drinking a coke or eating a candy bar in the car occupies my right hand on an intermittent basis. If that is declared to be dangerous, don't you also have to declare that driving with a stick shift is equally dangerous for the same reason?

  • ||

    I don't think the law goes far enough. If I had my way, drivers would be forced to have their eyelids propped open, so as to not miss anything by blinking.

    Sneezing too. That split second that your eyes close while sneezing could be the difference between life and death.

  • ||

    This is in Vermont? Isn't Vermont the state all of the libertarians are supposed to move to?

    No, that's New Hampshire. Vermont is a nature park for former denizens of the Upper West Side.

  • blogger||

    great idea. instead of fining them, lets just shoot them on site. i am tired of these idiots running into my s500 4+ times in the last year.

  • Robert||

    Funny thing, Tim, these developments are the fruition of a Jean P. Shepherd story from decades ago consisting of alternating vignettes about auto accidents and wire stories about Ralph Nader (who becomes President Nader halfway thru) announcing bans on various distracting behaviors and situations (such as having Democrats and Republicans in the same car) while driving.

  • John||

    Although, I do think that law being passed in Vermont is excessive, I think it would be ignorant to simply punish reckless drivers. The purpose of law is not just to punish, but to prevent. It's why we have preventative measures not to sell alcohol to minors. We don't know for sure if minors will consume it, but chances are they will.

  • Vinney||

    i got pulled over in vermont a few nights ago for no reason. i was driving home a few drunken female friends of mine -totally sober myself. the officer said that my plates line up with a black mercedez (i drive a green jeep with NY plates)... this was obviously a load of crap used to look inside my car and run my license and i don't appreciate it very much. there were cops EVERYWHERE that night. it was the end of the month.
    the cop followed me around the streets for about 5 blocks as i drove perfectly well - but not like someone who is drunk and driving too slow or anything. what are the odds that the cop decided to run MY plates (as opposed to the hundreds of cars on the road) and that the "computer error" just HAPPENED to occur as he's checking ME out. i think my chances of winning the lottery are better.
    i'd rather not be completely aware of when i'm being lied to my officials. it happens enough without me knowing anyway

  • ||

    Why is Dave W./Sam Franklin being allowed to post as Dave W. again, and better yet, why is he being allowed to used one screen name to post about the other screen name?

    First question - I'll bet either the ban expired or since it was Tim Cavanaugh's ban it is no longer in force.

    Second question - Yeah, he's getting weirder all the time, isn't he? I hope his friends and family keep a close eye on him. I worry and I've never met the guy.

  • ||

    Radley,

    I agree with you - though the flute story is more likely the truth...

    More on the validity of the "flute story" beyond vermont: Seth Godin's Flute Sighting

  • ||

    Sorry for the bad formatting above!

    Seth Godin's Flute Sighting

  • Paul||

    passed one that generically bans any activity that could interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle.

    Does this include putting your wife behind the wheel?

    *ducks*

  • ||

    I'm fairly sure that a cop would be on fairly firm ground if he he charged someone he observed playing a flute or some other such thing while driving with reckless or careless driving.

    I know I wouldn't have a problem with it.

    Many of the other activities mentioned fall into the same category.

    Why do the nannies always think the answer is a new law. Does it not ever occur to them that if the activity is truly a threat to public safety that it's probably already against the law?

  • Steve||

    Um, I have actually played a trumpet while driving, on several occasions. It sounds stupid, but, well if you're running late for rehearsal, and you need to arrive "warmed up", what else are you going to do? Provided you're on a freeway and leave a big gap in front of you, I don't find it *that* dangerous. And you're obviously y keeping your eyes on the road as much as possible.

    So, it's possible about the flute.

    Steve

  • Komodo||

    Maybe because by the time those reckless actions catch up to them and they make a mistake, they've already plowed their SUV through that subcompact holding a baby and it's mother?

    Mind you, I'm not necessarily for the laws. The micro managing is ridiculous. There are plenty of needless laws already on the books that a cop can use to harass the citizenry if she feels the urge.

    If someone's seen playing the flute while driving, just pull them over and cite them for one of the previously mentioned meaningless laws, but let them know the flute playing is why they were pulled over.

  • ||

    Here's a novel idea: repeal speed limits on open stretches of interstate. I live in Germany and there is no way you can do any of this crap on the Autobahn. You have to be totally focused on driving. You definitely don't want to have a wreck while going at 220 km/hr (more than 135 mph).

    After a few horrific wrecks on the interstates, people will be much more aware of driving and drivers out there flying down the road at Mach 2. That will make them focus on driving instead of flute playing.

  • Rhywun||

    there is no way you can do any of this crap on the Autobahn



    An important difference is that people actually [are required to] know HOW to drive there. When I lived there, I was amazed at the skillz--proper use of lanes and signals and such things that Americans are completely ignorant of. Part of the reason I don't drive is the appalling lack of skills of everyone on the road, which invariably leads to anger management issues when I'm behind the wheel.

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