Civil Liberties

And Now: "Distracted Moving"


The Nanny Statists take aim at jogging with your iPod:

The ubiquity of interactive devices has propelled the science of distraction — and now efforts to legislate against it — out of the car and into the exercise routine. 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. Legislation pending in Oregon would restrict bicyclists from using mobile phones and music players, and a Virginia bill would keep such riders from using a "hand-held communication device." In California, State Senator Joe Simitian, who led a successful fight to ban motorists from sending text messages and using hand-held phones, has reintroduced a bill that failed last year to fine bicyclists $20 for similar multitasking.

This is all reaction to a tiny increase (0.4 percent) in pedestrian fatalities over the first half of last year. Never mind that the increase came only after a 30-year free-fall during which pedestrian fatalities halved, or that said free-fall happened during a period when cell phones and personal music devices went from nonexistent to ubiquitous.

Politicians never let logic get in the way of banning stuff. We've seen the same dramatic fall in automobile fatalities over the same period, for example, but that hasn't stopped Transportation Ray LaHood, aided by a hysterical media, from going bonkers over distracted driving.


NEXT: Obama SOTU(s): We Need a New Transportation Megaproject to Undo the Last Megaproject

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  1. How many congresscreatures were “wired” at the SOTU?

  2. Note to universe: please begin with the meteor assault now.

    1. Been on it for a while. These things take time. It’ll be worth the wait, I promise!

      1. the earth’s surface is covered w impact craters…like ur brain

        1. Don’t woory, Dooby. We’re predicting big things next year.

          1. *Casts meteor*

  3. Control. It’s all about total, state control. They don’t care what the angle is.

    1. Do so care. Has to be right angle.

      1. the angle of the dangle is equal to the heat of the meat times the mass of the ass squared

  4. IIRC, there was already much wailing about kids staying up late playing on XBox etc., so I think we are past “distracted moving” already. We are on “distracted sleeping”.

    [Post STEVE SMITH joke here.]

    1. Wait until we have seriously augmented reality, when joggers are experiencing simulated sex while jogging. With full haptic interfaces!

      1. mmmm…..haptic……

      2. Finally something that might get me to jog.

      3. Once I invent a holodeck, I aim to create a simulation of a perfect technocratic paradise. Then I invite them all in, and throw away the key.

        1. Remove the safeties first.

        2. Padlock the door, of coure.

          Before dropping it in the Marianas Trench.

  5. Well, they’d better get on to banning a far more “distracted doing something that might be dangerous” thing first.

    After all, we can’t have pilots being distracted by such interactive displays and gadgets such as radios, and instruments. Just think of the horror of a pilot talking on a two way radio while trying to fly. Why, they might not see that mountain, and run right into it. And to think of all the text they have to input to the flight management system. Why, they should be FLYING, damn it, not typing on some flippin keyboard in the cockpit.

    T Firmly IC

  6. pilots cannot be compared to a teen testing while driving

    1. Sounds like you were slurring when you typed that.

      1. Orrin always types like that. He has a delightfully wacky learning disability.

    2. Depends what the teen is testing.

      Erotic response, perhaps?

  7. A friend got hassled in Broward County for walking on the sidewalk and texting. Unfortunately, she did not tell the cop to fuck right off.

  8. “hand-held communication device.”

    I wonder if that’ll include flipping someone off.

    Then there’s:

    “No, officer, I didn’t signal for that turn. That would require activating a hand-held communication device.”

  9. This is all reaction to a tiny increase (0.4 percent) in pedestrian fatalities over the first half of last year.

    Sure, blame the victims.

  10. We’ve seen the same dramatic fall in automobile fatalities over the same period, for example

    As percentage of the population, certainly, but we’re still pretty reliably knocking off 30-50k people a year with them and have been since 1975.…..S._by_year

    On the best year, that’s 9/11 times 10. You know what that means… that’s right, 9110.

    Seriously though, isn’t it a testament to the strength of the vehicle lobby that we’re not passing 10 Highway Patriot Acts a year over that?

  11. Obviously this is dumb, but I can’t say I disagree with banning motorcyclists from texting.

    Or at least let’s pass a law that says if you want to text on a motorcycle, you also have to be popping a wheelie, because that would be pretty sweet.

    1. I think that one is self-correcting. Now law needed.

  12. When earbuds are outlawed, only the outlaws will have earbuds.


    They need to do something about trees, signs, and street lights, they distract me while I am running or biking, and I could get hit by a car.

  13. Actually, I’m 100% behind this as long as they ban dogs on laps in cars. This is my standard poison pill to any cellphone/texting/music regulation. It must also provide for the distraction factor of dogs.

    1. Any dogs in cars should be in the driver’s seat where they belong.

      1. Oh my God, bear is driving! How can that be?

  14. Here in Arkansas, a state senator has is proposing a law to make it illegal to have both earbuds in for joggers and bikers. So I hope you’re into the Beach Boys or some other group who did their best work in mono.

    Also, distracted joggers don’t other people, they kill themselves. Self-correcting problem.

  15. Nothing more distracting than a police/fire/ambulance siren. Someone should ban those deathtraps from the road.

    1. Server squirrels: please fix your link-parsing/text-truncation algorithm

  16. I realise that it’s futile to try to convince statists that government is not the solution to every problem any person ever has. But can they at least understand that even the government’s resources are not unlimited?

    What city can afford to waste police officers’ time chastising joggers for wearing headphones? The cops do have other tasks they must attend to.

    You know, like shooting people’s pets.

    1. What are you talking about. Once government expresses its displeasure in the form of a law the bad vehavior will stop at once. See also gun control.

      1. I don’t know what bad vehavior is. I’m sure it’s illegal though.

  17. Isn’t this a social engineering robot-killer? Do something that discourages people from exercising to protect them from accidents. Whether via diabetes or car hood, someone could wind up in a wheelchair with half their right leg gone.

    Where’s our top fitness cop when we need her?

  18. I started jogging with my earbuds because I hate jogging otherwise. Now they want to save my life by discouraging my exercise, killing me in another way. Way to to, nannies.

  19. Again, when did life become an Onion article?

  20. Clearly, Steve Jobs isn’t throwing enough protection lobbying money around. A guy could get hurt that way.

  21. so i guess all deaf people have already been outlawed? government idiots

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