A bill against texting on a mobile phone and driving continues to move through the SC State Senate. Chances are it will pass and become law. Such legislation is an example how people in Columbia work hard to really very little for the people of the state.
First, let's start with the premise that texting and driving is a bad idea. No one disagrees with that. However, there have been distractions to drivers since driving began. Shall we ban arguing with your spouse and driving? Shall we ban women putting on makeup and driving? Shall we ban eating a hamburger or drinking a soda and driving? The list of distractions go on and on. Each of which can cause an accident.
It is illogical to believe that any of the above distractions are less dangerous than texting while driving. Further, there are laws to deal with such reckless and careless driving, regardless the distraction. So why the urge for a texting and driving ban?
Simple politics are at play. Lobbyists have to prove that they are worth being paid, as do special interests groups. Those people search out the politically "sexier" news stories of the year. This year it is texting and driving. Next year the pet distraction to driving might be shifting the gears of a manual transmission. Who knows?
Once the story is grabbed, it is spun again to the media and presented to legislators. Reports are issued. Survivors of tragic accidents are exploited. But, the lobbyists and special interest groups prove their worth to those who fund them.
The legislators have to prove their worth to the voters. In an election year such as this one, that is especially important. South Carolina faces major problems, such as the Employment Security Commission out of control, an Education system so laden with unprecedented administrative costs that an actual increase in funding results in cuts to the classroom, among other big problems.
The big problems seem too hard for the General Assembly to really tackle. Yet, they must prove their worth. So, they move to ban texting while driving. They can go home and talk about how they "saved lives" and "made the highways safer." All sorts of people can thump their chests about a great victory and how they are worth being around, without actually doing anything to address the big problems of the state.
Some will say a life will be saved by the legislation somewhere. Perhaps. But, there will also be a life lost to someone distracted by the ball game on the radio, by thinking about the project that they forgot at work, by kids yelling in the back, and on and on. Fortunately, there are laws to deal with such in a general nature, as there should be. Choosing one of the many distractions of driving and making a specific law in regards to it is politically motivated superfluous legislation that creates the distraction from the fact that the lobbyists and General Assembly get little done to address the greater problems that face this state.