"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
The Petition on Behalf of the Distracted Drivers
Exclusive to STR
August 17, 2009
A timely law, good gentlemen! In combining thousands of statistics, relevant hearsay, and the practice of coercive compliance, you concern yourself with your constituent, the citizen of Virginia . You wish to free him from the pain and tragedy of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving. We, the citizens, however, feel the letter of the law must be taken farther. You have not pursued the affair to its conclusion: distracted driving is only a secondary offense, the fines are miniscule [$50], and despite the implementation of this law, motor vehicle accidents continue to rise in Northern Virginia and across the state!
We, the constituents of Virginia , humbly request that you pass a law banning all driving distractions. Away with the use of cell phones, GPS systems, and the radio, that entertainer [distracter]! Let us cast billboards, shop signs, and house numbers into the rubbish bin. Remove all STOP and YIELD signs. As the possibility exists that I might unthinkingly swerve into the adjacent lane while reading the restaurants available at Exit 60 ( Danville , Virginia ), or while counting mile markers, I propose banning those signs, and for that matter, all street markers. Urgent action is required lest Virginians suffer tragic automobile accidents unnecessarily!
Yet this is not enough. As you are well aware, gentlemen, Virginia is for lovers. Love, the forte of all Virginians, necessitates a keen and hearty appetite for the Virginian state sport, 'people-watching.' People-watching while driving constitutes an unnecessary distraction; therefore, we propose a ban of all sexually enticing clothing, including evening wear and sports apparel, in the immediate vicinity of the street. We Virginians demand a drab gray or black gender-neutral burqa be worn by all citizens waiting at bus stops, exiting stores, or exercising. All individuals not wearing the required burqa [or a burqa of a color not specified by the law] must be immediately stopped and fined for Class III misdemeanor 'contributing to the distractedness of a motor vehicle operator.' Those individuals who flagrantly violate this distraction law [in being especially sexually enticing] should be arrested for the new Class 1 misdemeanor, 'Attempted malicious distracting.' If the malicious distracting results in a motor vehicle accident, we suggest a mandatory six month jail term for the offender and a six month suspension of the motor vehicle operator's license. To reduce the distraction arising from watching police officers administer tickets [and other forms of 'rubbernecking,'] we are separately proposing legislation in the form of an 'anti-rubbernecking' bill.
Finally, gentlemen, we must expand our exemplary police force's duties to include random checkpoints for the aforementioned distractions. Books, cell phones, and passengers not in their proper containers must be subjected to the penalty of this law. Now our detractors will say that this law is unevenly applied. No, good gentlemen, for this objection is applied by those who want to see more distracted drivers and more motor vehicle accidents! The EvicReo Corporation, Ltd., recently manufactured a new procurement-ready 'distractalyzer,' which allows Virginia 's honorable police officers to safely and easily administer an objective distraction test. With minimal training, Virginia 's police officers will be able to enforce this law and provide for the safety and well being of all Virginians.
Or, gentlemen, and we pose this seriously, if distracted driving is such a scourge, and the price of our proposals too high, let us do away with driving altogether. Let us suspend all drivers' licenses and impound all motor vehicles. This is a contentious issue, gentlemen, but let us be logical; the removal of all motor vehicles from the roads sounds the death knell for distracted driving. Or perhaps we may simply outlaw the citizens themselves? In removing the causal factor, we will safeguard the lives of Virginians, and we will prove to the world that Virginia is the toughest on distracted driving!
 Advanced researchers at George Mason University complied five-year backdated statistics for accidents caused by people-watching, which will be released in five years.
 The distractalyzer technology is by all accounts similar to the breathalyzer technology. Upon probable cause of distraction, including opened technological products in the vehicle, the police officer administers the small oral device to the suspect, which rates the suspect's distractedness through a complex chemical analysis of neurotransmitters evidenced in his breath. The device then displays the calculated percentage for the officer.
 This essay is a belated tribute to the birthday of Frederic Bastiat June 30th, 1801 .