"I Really Do Think This Is Going To Be The DUI Of The Future"

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
i really do think this is going to be the dui of the future

I am utterly convinced that our descendants will look on the aggressive prosecution of “distracted driving” the way hipster kids today look at the “Reefer Madness” scare of the Thirties. As police departments across the nation weigh the relative rates at which smartphone owners and career drunk drivers pay their court fines in a timely fashion (hint: it’s heavily weighed in favor of the former category), the shrill call to take additional action against people holding phones for any reason including navigation will reach a fever pitch not seen among American law enforcement since an idiot named Jack Anderson told them the Glock 17 could sneak through a metal detector. A claim, by the way, that Rachel Maddow repeated a few years ago, presumably because Maddow is either a deliberate liar or an unknowing dupe.

American drivers with more than a few days’ experience will note that the police tend to choose their speedtrap locations not by the risk that speeding in a given location poses to public safety but rather by ease of access and proximity to well-heeled drivers who are likely to quickly pay their tickets. In my hometown of Columbus, for example, speed enforcement on Route 315, which runs from the wealthy suburbs to the downtown offices, is constant and vigilant. Speed enforcement on Route 71, which runs parallel through the city but has exits leading to the ghetto and the truck stops instead of the ‘burbs, is nonexistent with the exception of the short stretch that connects the outerbelt to the upscale mall. As a consequence, Route 315 is an orderly low-speed commuter parade every day and Route 71 looks like a scene from Mad Max: Fury Road.

This cash-directed approach to safety has reached a new nadir, however, with a distracted-driving program that targets drivers who are incapable of doing any harm whatsoever.

In Marietta, Georgia, the police are posing as construction workers, which allows them to walk up to drivers who are stuck in stalled construction-zone traffic and issue them tickets for distracted driving. Never mind that no actual driving is taking place, unless you call sitting in a car with your foot on the brake for ten minutes at a time “driving”, in which case you’re going to just love “driving” in Chicago. The sheer ridiculousness of claiming that the public is endangered by cars that are not moving wouldn’t disgrace any council of the pigs in Animal Farm.

“Anytime you’re in the road, in the roadway, you’re in gear and in control of the roadway. Even reading it falls under the code section as well,” one officer told a driver.

The tickets are $150 and one point on your license. Police say texting and driving is a growing problem that needs to stop.

“I really think this is the DUI of the future. Impairment is still a problem, but this distracted driving is killing as many people as drunk drivers,” [Marietta officer Nick] Serkedakis said.

Let me correct that last sentence:

“I really think this is the DUI of the future. Impairment is still a problem, but this distracted driving is killing as many people as drunk drivers,” [Marietta officer Nick] Serkedakis LIED.

I hope you caught the word LIED in my correction. Because it’s a lie. Even the Huffington Post, which typically gives the mostly illusory problem of “distracted driving” a big slurpy blowjob every time the subject comes up, has to admit the actual facts.

In 2012, 3,328 Americans died in crashes involving a distracted driver, while 10,322 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

Let me edit that sentence for truth:

In 2012, 3,328 Americans died in crashes that could have possibly involved a theoretically distracted driver according to whatever cop took time to look in the car, while 10,322 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes that are always verified by blood testing for purposes of legal prosecution.

Let me offer a sentence of similar veracity for you:

According to Jack Baruth, a noted collector of “Sengir Vampire” Magic : The Gathering cards, there are probably at least five million women in the Midwest who can have an orgasm just by touching a Sengir Vampire card in the presence of a handsome, bearded man. On the other hand, there are sixteen ounces in a pound.

I’m not saying that it’s a great idea to go rocking down the road while sending selfies to your “boo” or playing Plants vs. Zombies or even reading Wikipedia, but to even think about equating texting-and-driving with drunk driving is to exaggerate the former for profit while endangering lives by de-prioritizing enforcement of the latter. Every cop who is playing fake construction worker looking for easy marks in stopped cars is one fewer cop out there catching actual criminals doing actual dangerous things. If, as Office Nick says, texting-while-driving enforcement is “The DUI Of The Future”, then take my advice: don’t let your children leave the house after the bars close, because the DUI Of The Present will kill them stone dead.

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  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Aug 03, 2015

    Friday morning last, I looked down from my high traffic vantage point at the car to my left in the outside left turn lane. The young woman in her GMC Terrain, about fourth in line, same as me, was looking down at her phone furiously wiggling her thumbs. The turn signal gave the green arrow and the inside turn lane got moving first as the outside turn lane had a truck in the lead which was slowly lumbering to get up to speed. The 20-something young woman caught the forward movement of traffic in her peripheral vision, stepped on the gas and ran straight into the car in front of her as it waited for the outside lane to get moving. Anecdotal, sure. And not a serious collision. But completely unavoidable, were it not for her undivided concentration on her cell phone whilst stopped at the light. She took the worst of it. Her GMC's grille crunched straight into the rear bumper and hitch of a Ford work van. Karmic justice? Maybe, but could have just as easily been a motorcyclist in front of her.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Aug 03, 2015

      As my mom would say, "That's what she gets!" Hilarious anecdote, thank you.

  • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Aug 08, 2015

    quoting the article: "Anytime you’re in the road, in the roadway, you’re in gear and in control of the roadway. Even reading it falls under the code section as well,” one officer told a driver." So in gear is required? Manual tranny drivers idling in neutral are OK? Also I like the approach of my state. The law specifically says that distracted driving does not apply when you are "legally stopped" for example at a stoplight or construction zone like this one.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )