Otto von Bismark is reported to have said, “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”
Monday, Governor McDonnell amended the fees on the General Assembly passed ban on texting while driving. The governor’s amendment makes it a primary offense to text and drive, meaning you can be pulled over for just that. But it also brings the fines more into line with existing fines on things like reckless driving and DUI.
On a side note, I wonder how the young legislator I saw checking his Blackberry from behind the wheel of his SUV voted on this measure.
But here’s the thing, according to Senator George Barker (D-Alexandria) who patroned the Senate version along with Senator Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg), the law only covers entering text into a phone for email or messages, or to use a search engine. He said that the legislation was limited because a ban on all phone usage would have been too extreme.
According to RVANews.com, “The law does not prohibit scrolling through songs on iTunes or even playing a game while driving. It’s still OK to use a GPS navigation unit or consult Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant.”
So, in theory, I could be driving down I-95, watching Netflix on my iPad, reading a book on my Kindle and playing Words with Friends, but I could only be pulled over if I text my wife to ask her to look up a word.
No one is denying that texting while driving is both dangerous and stupid. But so are many laws when legislators try to protect us from ourselves.
By the way, the word “sausage” can be worth up to 72 points in Words with Friends.