Tom Rants

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Tom Rants Default Granny, drunks and cell phones

Granny, drunks and cell phones

The Eclectic Econoclast points to an article in The Globe and Mail that seems to be saying that young drivers with cell phones are as impaired as 70 year olds. The interesting thing I got out of it is that both are more impaired than drivers with a .08 BAC:

“If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,â€? said David Strayer…
In fact, motorists who talk on cellphones are more impaired than drunken drivers with blood-alcohol levels exceeding 0.08…

If I’m reading that right, that means that a teen on a cell phone and your average 70 year old are both more impaired than a .08 BAC two-beer “drunk”. So, either there needs to be a vicious crackdown on the first two complete with arrests, handcuffs and jail time or the third isn’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe. Now, are we ready to cuff and stuff Granny, yank her driver’s license, fingerprint her, take her mugshot, print her name in the paper as the moral equivalent of a murderer or is it time that maybe as a free society we rethink the whole zero-tolerance hype? I think it’s clearly at least a question worth really debating. It’s an important enough question that it’s worth taking with a grain of salt any input from the institutionalized interest groups with their bureaucratic inertia providing incentives for citing ever increasing problems no matter how much regulation is thrown at them.

(Note: The question of reviewing the .08 limit is mine. John Palmer was commenting on a different aspect of the issue entirely. Go read his thoughts. He suggested that the problem could be dealt with by simply using the tort system to hold impaired drivers liable for damages, except that Ontario has no-fault insurance. )

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