Is mobile texting a smart use of technology?

STAFF WRITERAugust 17, 2009 

Yeah, thanks, folks, for this assignment: I see my voice mail filling up by 7:30. Call my boss if you want to complain.

OK. This is why the editors gave me this coveted writing billet. I'm widely and unaffectionately known around the newsroom for prolifically sending e-mail from behind the wheel. Reading it, replying to it. Annoying people at the office. Worse. I peek at my BlackBerry to check the markets, Facebook and Twitter.

Untold trillions have been spent on infrastructure to support smart phones -- high-powered computers with a dial tone. They've gone 3G. They're going 4G. They've got apps up the wazoo.

And anyone's surprised that we use them in moving Buicks? Hey, bud, we're Americans. Give us technology, we use it. Everywhere.

But the legislature believes we are a scourge, us mobile texters, as opposed to the uninsured, driving-while-revoked, drunk-off-their-butts members of the motoring public who get multiple passes from the criminal justice system. So our solons pass a law making driving-while-texting illegal.

The cops, who roll their eyes routinely at such legislative hokum, think: Like we're going to be able to enforce this?

So what's next?

Well, how about your satellite radio? Navigating a 200-station dial on I-40 is easily as distracting as any smart phone. And next year, with a study in hand equating satellite dial surfing with driving under the influence of meth cut with Alamance County cheladas, some Jones Street worthy will offer a bill requiring us to pull over, cut the engine and say The Lord's Prayer in Walloon in order to switch from Hair Nation to Margaritaville on the Sirius. You saw it here first.

By the by: For next week, they've assigned me the "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, misunderstood visionary" essay. Like I said, call my boss.

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