Roadside Texters

Can we put the cell-phone genie back in the bottle? Apparently not. I almost typed this from my cell in traffic, but I decided not to, because it’s illegal now and I’m a good citizen, concerned with the safety of my fellow drivers. The media did a good job of getting the message out: The Legislature passed a law that makes it illegal to text and to talk on the phone without a headset as of Oct. 1. Fees for violating the measure begin in January.

The whole thing makes good safety sense, but as I was driving by Town Center one morning, I nearly rear-ended an Escalade parked half on the street, half on the shoulder with its hazard lights on. I was able to maneuver around it—probably because I wasn’t texting—only to see that the driver was on his cell phone, no doubt having pulled over to complete his call in order to comply with the law.

Just as I avoided a terrible accident and made my way around him, not 40 yards on down the road a BMW was flashing hazards on the same shoulder. Was it car trouble? Should I pull over to help my fellow citizen? No, it wasn’t, and I didn’t. She was texting. Another law-abiding citizen taking up half of the right lane, and certainly the bike lane, in order to drive more safely.

Now, I know the cops are onto this problem, and no doubt they’ll find a way to turn road-shoulders back into what they used to be: wastelands for pieces of blown-out tire rubber and overheated cars with their hoods up.

But if they can’t, we’ll just have to wait for the next Legislature’s Don’t-Park-on-the-Side-of-the-Road Bill. That’s about 14 months away.