I heard on the news today that Governor Cuomo has just signed a law dramatically increasing the penalties for driving while texting”. All the usual “if it saves the life of one child” blather, but I regretted that no one at the press conference asked him what data he and his legislators were basing their action on. After their use of spurious data in whooping their gun control bill through, I’m sensitive to “feel good, it must make sense” laws that in fact are based on nothing.
But we have that same opportunity to ask our own elected representatives here in Connecticut, because our own Freddie Camillo has gotten a similar law pushed through. Texting is a pretty new phenomenon and spreading like wildfire, so you’d expect to see an increase in motor vehicle accidents attributable to distracted, right? You’d be disappointed if you did. Here’s what I could find in about three minutes of Googling, from the US Census 2012 summary.
Now it’s entirely possible that there are other data out there that do support Camillo and his colleagues’ assertion that texting while driving is a growing problem that must be addressed, right now, but he doesn’t mention it. My hunch is that these guys didn’t even bother trying to see if they had anything to support their action and just went with the usual, “make it look like we’re doing something” school of politicking.