Stupid... Protected by Law.
The Hands Free law went into effect today in California. For those of you who’ve been following along, we at Everyday Driver are big supporters of drivers not holding a phone to their face. But, even though we’re glad people will be using headsets, laws aren't supposed to protect us from our own stupidity.
Stupid gets you hurt. It’s a law of nature, there to teach us not to be stupid the next time. There’s no law saying “don’t touch a hot stove” because at some point you or someone you know did it and burned the hell out of themselves. Lesson learned. Don’t do that.
Ever read the Darwin Awards? There’s no law against most of the things those people do but everyone reading just thinks “who are these people?”. I’ll tell you. Stupid people. It killed them. And we learned from it. Survival of the fittest, people… we’re bettering humanity here.
So I’m left in a quandary about rules of the road which help preserve the folks from the shallow urine-stained end of the gene pool.
First, the Euro NCAP Pedestrian ratings: Have you noticed that car design is drifting toward boxy front ends and abrupt/bulbous hoods? Pick any Mercedes, the new Honda Accord, the latest Lincolns, you name a car who used to have a sharp sloping hood and I’ll show you a new design making it blunt. This isn’t just a design trend, nope, it’s law.
Essentially, the European NTSB got concerned about all the hard, painful stuff on the front of a car. And they decided it would be a good idea if car hoods were made so they crumple when a pedestrian gets hit. I’m going to stop for a second and make sure I have your attention…
Cars have been redesigned to be “softer” when they hit people. This is the law.
Look. If you’re in the middle of the street unable to recognize the danger of a car speeding toward you, then I don’t think we can help you.
Next, helmet laws: Now even though both Paul and I prefer four wheels to two, we’ve each had a good amount of street-bike fun. Yet not once have we raged against protecting our face and brains. You can’t replace these items with a Wal-Mart special, and there’s a reason hospitals call them “donor-cycles”. Bad things do happen.
Thankfully, there’s a law to make sure those uninterested in self-preservation can be forced into a longer life. Except for those states where it’s “too hot” to require a helmet. You know, because a little sweat on your face is far worse than no face at all.
See, the system works? We’re being saved from ourselves.
And finally, this new hands free cell phone law: Why can’t people recognize that holding something to your face hinders your driving? We’re just saying use both hands when operating that 2-ton heap of speeding metal. How is this too much to ask? And why are people asking if this means they can’t text when they drive? Your hands are busy, folks. Texting shouldn’t have entered your mind.
But oh, good… there’s a law. Now we don’t have to think about it, we can blame "the man" for hindering our lifestyles.
I enjoy dangerous hobbies. I rock climb, ski, and like driving fast. But if I’m going to take them on, shouldn’t I also embrace the responsibility for my own safety? Stupid endangerment is the result of bad decisions. Bad decisions have consequences. What is the government doing trying to protect the stupid? There are better things to do with tax dollars.