Last month Texas made it illegal to text and drive. Texting at a stop light is fine. Talking on a phone is fine. Hands free talking is okay except in a school zone. The legality of mascara application at 55 mph remains unclear.
While we can outlaw the transmission of electronic messages we still have our wrists, dashboards, GPS devices, pagers, and the next ambient monitor to keep us busy. And as far as I can tell there’s no law against looking at your watch, scrolling iTunes, or fiddling with the radio dial.
Texting is serious business and we should do everything to enforce safe driving. But texting is a surrogate issue for a broader problem with the way we relate to technology. And the law will never keep up with the growing list of stuff looking to draw our eyes. We have an attention problem and it extends well beyond the passenger compartment of a vehicle.
And how do you legislate human attention?
Image via Lord Jim on Flickr