Monday, January 16, 2012

For Whom The Cell Tolls

Remember the greatest lie ever told? No, not that one. I'm referring to, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Our society is littered with examples of government padding their coffers under the guise of looking out for our best interests.

Smoking is a clear example. While governments pretend to dissuade the Joe Cools from continuing to indulge in the habit by pushing an anti-tobacco agenda, the fact of the matter is they are heavily addicted to the proceeds derived from this market. Gambling and lotteries? Ditto!

Add the banning of personal electronic devices while driving to the growing list of government "do good" attempts that fall well short of the purported goals. All jurisdictions that have implemented such bans have not experienced a significant decrease in traffic accidents or fatalities under the ban. And why would they? All we've created is a new breed of drivers who continue to text, email, surf, and update their Facebook statuses on smart phones that are hidden from view. Which scenario is safer: driver "A" who texts on a device that is perched atop the steering wheel, somewhat cognizant of the surroundings in his periphery, or driver "B" who attempts the same with the device on his lap? Don't get me wrong; both are accidents waiting to happen, but when laws are created to prevent people from texting while driving when we know they are going to text anyway on devices below their windshield's field of view, we do nothing to make our roads safer.

Don't kid yourself!

Governments know this, so why bother with the laws in the first place? Well, for the same reason that I can purchase cigarettes at my local convenience store while buying my lottery tickets. Governments are keen on collecting the revenue generated from enforcing these bans ($500 a pop in my jurisdiction) and are loath to give it up.

So ask not who benefits from this ban. It is clearly not you and I. Bureaucrats need to tone down their Mr. Nice Guy routines.