“I’m always looking forward as I text in the car,” a younger relative of mine said, her voice dripping with bitterness. “I can still see the damn road.” She was bitching about the new hands-free law as I admonished her for not having a device to hold her phone, assuming it actually unglues from her hands, an event that could actually warp the space-time continuum and send our reality into the 53rd dimension.
“I ride a motorcycle, and I see you nerds swerving all the time with your ‘still seeing the road’ business,” I bitched back. She didn’t seem too fazed, the carefree/careless teenager she is.
Truth is, I’m stoked about this new law. Without fail damn near, anytime I’ve ever seen someone zag when they should zig, or cross lanes without signaling (because they didn’t even realize they were crossing lanes until they were halfway in the new one), it’s been someone who was so fixated on their phone that actual driving took a backseat. I don’t say this as a hyperbolic curmudgeon, either. When I was younger, I did stupid crap like that, too. But we’re years into “don’t text and drive” campaigns, complete with crushed-metal imagery and “final texts” that go along with them, so ignorance is not the issue.
What I find annoying, oddly, is that most people assume it’s the younger generation who’s solely to blame. Yes, my unnamed relative drives that point a bit, but you want to know the bulk of the offenders I’ve seen while swearing through my helmet? Folks who appear 40+. I’m not even kidding. I’ll look over at the numbskull who’s looking up from his lap, then slamming on brakes once he realizes he’s about to run up the back of the vehicle in front of him, only to go back staring at his lap. As I pass him? He’s reading something on his phone. Then there was the woman who flipped me off after I mimicked hanging up a phone. (She’d swerved into my lane while she was holding her phone in front of her face on the interstate.) I just shook my head and raced far ahead of her, to get some good distance between us. It’s such an issue for me that I watch what people are doing in their cars almost more than I watch the vehicle itself — it’s usually a pretty good indicator of how much I can trust them to drive relatively normally.
At any rate, I hope everyone sees the good in this new law. I dropped by a retailer that sells hands-free devices and picked some up for friends and snarky, young, bull-headed family. Look for that on page 12.
And hey: I’m not trying to be preachy. I really just want y’all safe. And if your phone ungluing from your hand sends us careening into the 53rd dimension, at least you’ll have something to cradle that device as we rip through the fabric of reality as we know it