Thursday, July 07, 2005

They Would Make Informers Of Us All!

Hat tip to Craig at libertybellblog.

MADD, in their typicly underhanded fashion, wants to encourage us to get on our cell phones and rat people out. It looks like they didn't get the memo.

Drivers talking on cell phones were 18 percent slower to react to brake lights, the new study found. In a minor bright note, they also kept a 12 percent greater following distance. But they also took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked. That frustrates everyone.

"Once drivers on cell phones hit the brakes, it takes them longer to get back into the normal flow of traffic," Strayer said. "The net result is they are impeding the overall flow of traffic."

Strayer and his colleagues have been down this road before. In 2001, they found that even hands-free cell phone use distracted drivers. In 2003 they revealed a reason: Drivers look but don't see, because they're distracted by the conversation. The scientists also found previously that chatty motorists are less adept than drunken drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.08.

Or, more likely, they did get the memo but they just don't care! It seems to me that if MADD were truly interested in improving highway safety, they would incorporate a cell phone safety agenda into their platform. But I submit to you that this is further proof that MADD is not interested in safety but in prohibition. They want to offer up the paranoia that if you have a drink or two that you will be prosecuted by an army of your fellow motorists wielding their cell phones. They want to make you afraid to drink even moderatly, and along with manipulating the BAC and relying on the unconstitutional breathylizer machine, this is one more way to do that.

The hypocrites! They pretend to be family friendly by publicizing incidents where a drunk driver ran into a station wagon full and killed some kids, but they never tell you about the times when the drunk gets killed and the kids survive (which happens just about as often). Of course they don't want you to know about the 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries that sober drivers incur annually in this country while talking on their cell phones. That would just take the wind right out of their sales wouldn't it.

It would certainly put a dent in their funding that's for sure.

And it would be a lot harder to take away our constitutional rights based on cell phone usage because too many prominent people use them. They can't demonize cell phone users or portray them as criminals the way they can with casual drinkers and "drunks." One, there's too many people in government, law, and business that live by their cellphones, the very people that MADD wants to influence. Two, cell phone usage doesn't have the moral stigma that drinking does in American culture. Alcohol prohibition goes back hundreds of years in this country, from religious settlers who forbade strong drink, to Carrie Nation and her saloon smashers, to the prohibition years where booze was linked to violent crime, then to drunk driving, which, while it is a real threat, is highly exaggerated for MADD's political purposes.

One of the things MADD relies on is a public stereotype of the violent, drunken pariah who gets behind the wheel, reeking of booze, and selfishly decrying anyone who offers to get him a cab or take him home, and plows into a car full of innocent children. Never mind that the majority of folks who get busted for DWI/DUI with a .08, .04, or even .02 BAC after having a couple of drinks do not fit that stereotype. That's assuming they've even been drinking as it's not unheard of for designated drivers to get busted these days when a cop decided to arrest everyone in the car because one of the occupants smelled like booze. Hey, it's probable cause! And if the driver gets a false positive because he drank some milk, ate a bran muffin, or gargled some listerine, well it's obvious he's lying because he doesn't want to go to jail.

But MADD can't very well paint a negative stereotype in the public eye of a raving, violent cell phone user, reeking of....I dunno, plastic and car air freshner?. It just doesn't work, does it? Particularly when minds they would plant that stereotype in are the very same people using the phones.

So I guess the way MADD sees it is that it's better for more people to die at the hands of cell-phone using drivers in order to ferret out a few more suspected "drunks" and further their neoprohibitionist agenda. I wonder how they sleep at night.

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