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Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Useless Laws Gone Bust

A new tutorial long-term food storage will be posted tomorrow.
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In the mean time, on the "personal freedom" watch, once again, laws designed to control the behavior of individuals have failed.  Instead of treating adults as adults, our state and federal legislators believe they know what's best for us.  Instead of punishing people for their actions which harm others, we live in a quasi "Minority Report" society where you can be found guilty of something without even infringing on the rights of another citizen.

Here in California, we had a law passed that required cell phone users to use wireless headsets.  The legislature all nodded and "harumphed" and agreed that us stooooopid people just didn't know any better than to pay attention while we're driving.  So, with great fanfare, it became against the law to talk on your cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.

I felt safer instantaneously.  Not.

It seems that the Highway Loss Data Institute - a non-profit entity funded by the auto insurance industry - found that is was just another useless law.  Think about this:  Could there be an organization that would be more supportive of restrictions on cells while driving?  If this law even had marginally reduced accidents, wouldn't this organization scream that at the top of its non-profit lungs?

Their findings -
A new study suggests that laws banning talking on or sending text messages with cell phones while driving may not significantly decrease the risk of traffic accidents.
Now, their findings did report that the California law DID get more drivers to wear the wireless head-sets.  There is just one problem -
That said, the laws banning handheld phone usage have been effective in getting people to use hands-free devices for driving, the study suggests. But there is no indication that hands-free devices have reduced the number of car accidents that occur.
That's right:  The law is as useless as teats on a bull.

As they reviewed data, they found that these laws were essentially just a way for state legislatures to wield control over their subjects citizens and raise money from fines.
Research for the study, published Friday, was collected in New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and California. Data was also collected and evaluated from nearby states that do not have such bans, for the sake of comparison. The Highway Loss Data Institute's research indicates that car collision rates didn't change after bans went into effect--and they didn't change for nearby states without such bans, either.
Still, more of the same is coming down the pike at the federal level.
Indeed, Rader said the study also indicates that even though cell phone usage nationally has exploded over the past several years, and more than 89 percent of the U.S. population owns a cell phone, there has been no uptick nationally in the number of car accidents. 
The study comes at a time when the federal government is considering bans on the use of cell phones by drivers. 
Never let good data get in the way of a bad law.  Any bets on if this will be passed?

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2 comments:

The Hermit said...

Lots of laws are introduced to the legislature just so some no name faceless part time politician can get his moment of glory. Then they take on a life of their own. There are already so many laws nobody can obey them all, even if they cared.

Chief Instructor said...

This national "no cell phone" law is starting off just like the MADD zealots. Someone lost a child in a horrible accident, and the rest of us are punished. It's not enough for the driver who caused the death to pay - we all have to pay.