Monday, July 29, 2013

Distracted Drivers

In the last couple of years or so, we had a law put into place in Alberta called the "distracted driver law". Once it was implemented, signs were put up to remind people about this law. The signs read: "Distracted Driver Law in Effect".

So I'm wondering... why do they want the drivers distracted? Because I've always been rather reluctant to distract the driver of any vehicle I'm in, especially when we're in heavy traffic. I guess I could do my part, but it just feels so unsafe! And what sorts of distractions does the government want? How far should I go to distract the driver? Should it be enough to distract other drivers as well as my own? Or should the distraction be kept within the vehicle? Is conversation enough or does it have to be something more drastic? How distracted does the driver have to be before the police are satisfied? It's quite a dilemma and I've been trying to sort it out since they began to put those signs up.

When I first heard about this new law, I thought it might be a good thing. But that was before the signs. Now I'm wondering how sane the governing bodies are. To want drivers to be distracted is just so... um... distracting! And whose job is it to distract the driver? The passenger's? What if there is no passenger to do that? If I see a vehicle with only a driver in it, is it my responsibility to distract that driver in some way? Can I be fined if I don't? Can the other driver take down my license plate number and report me? Will the cameras at street corners be taking photos? Will passengers be sought out who are not performing their 'distraction duty' and sent a ticket in the mail?

What about drivers in buses? Does every passenger have to take the responsibility of distracting the driver or should one passenger do it? Do we have to take a vote for who distracts the driver or will people be assigned that duty? What about taxis? I suppose in this case each passenger or group of passengers would be held accountable if the driver isn't distracted enough. But what is "enough"? How does one know when to start... and when to stop?

Or is it all up to the driver to figure out? Does the driver have to plan for distractions for each trip? That would certainly make it easier for the passengers but how would anyone know if the driver was distracted or if he or she was just in a thoughtful mood? Would the radio be enough of a distraction or does the driver have to be obviously distracted? I mean, with all the availability of cell phones, tablets, and computers you'd think that the drivers could figure something out for themselves. Does the driver doing her hair or putting on makeup constitute enough of a distraction or must there be something more going on? It's a valid question. After all, these sorts of actions have been taking place since cars first hit the roadways and yet it's taken this long to make up a law to force drivers to be distracted.

There isn't any information available about this, just the signs, which don't tell me anything at all really... except that there is an expectation for drivers to be distracted somehow. I do wish the signs were more clear on what is expected of me... if anything!

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