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JONESIE: Don't let do-gooders hijack distracted drivers

April 04, 2014 - 7:17 AM

Someone needs to stop the do-gooders. Please. Before it’s too late.

They’re gathering their minivans together like locusts, feasting on good sense, forcing politicians to flee like wasteland farmers to Victoria to do something, anything. Because WON’T ANYBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

If someone doesn’t rein them in, your days of 'distracted driving' and mine are over.

Like most bad ideas, this train started with madd mothers. Not MADD mothers, there’s probably a trademark on that. Soon someone will start a national snitch campaign, soliciting pictures of all this distracted driving and posting them on the Internet. Oh, wait, too late.

Police must get involved. They spoon fed the media a story this week (have you noticed all police stories are spoon fed these days?) about a Nameless Individual who is probably, at this moment, getting his 27th ticket in three years for distracted driving.

ICBC feeds the beast by telling us 81 people died in B.C. last year due to distracted driving. Like anyone knows what that means. Newsmedia repeat it. The discussion distills to two demon words to stifle discussion: Distracted Driving. What kind of idiot speaks against that? Talk radio stirs up life and outrage and important questions. Is a $400 fine enough? $800? Confiscate their phones? Their cars? Their thumbs?

Finally, cue the minister to say something, anything. Yes, she says, lets raise fines. What a surprise.

So good, raise the fines. Go to $1,000. Heck, by that reasoning, if $1,000 is the number, then raising it to $10,000 will be 10 times more effective, right? Nothing’s stopping us.

You know what should stop us? Our record of bad ideas on drunk driving. The mom brigade got us mandatory minimum sentencing but never figured out why it was ineffective. They demanded more. So now B.C. has ‘the toughest drunk driving regulations in the country.’

A sweet 90-day roadside prohibition. Vehicle impoundment, baby.

Now police on the road have an option: Spend some 20 hours detailing a complicated criminal case for impaired driving or write a ticket and call a tow truck. What do you think they do more of?

Drinking and driving is hardly a criminal offence anymore. Do-gooders are better at being feel-gooders. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Criminologists tell us it’s not the penalty that deters crime. It’s the likelihood of being caught. Figure out a better way to catch them and we’ll be much closer to getting these dingbats off the road.

Tickets, no matter the fine, just raise the likelihood some shmuck like you or me will get dinged for something dumb like charging my phone on my dash, making phone calls on my Bluetooth, drinking coffee or eating occasionally, operating my radio and trying way too hard to read bumper stickers and vanity plates.

The problem is not distracted driving, it is—specifically—driving with a phone in your hand, (which I don’t do.)

Time spent talking about fines risks defining it for what it really is: Criminal negligence.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of Infotel News.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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