Editor's Blog


Nailed and Jailed for DUI

July 16, 2010
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If I don’t change my life-endangering behavior quickly, I will be pulled over, ticketed, fined, and possibly jailed if I repeatedly drive under the influence. 



If I don’t change my life-endangering behavior quickly, I will be pulled over, ticketed, fined, and possibly jailed if I repeatedly drive under the influence.

My addiction is not with alcohol or drugs. Indeed, my DUI habit is far worse.

I’ve been driving under the influence of my iPhone, while occasionally high on caffeine consumed from my travel mug. Both are punishable offenses in Michigan, especially city of Troy where my employer, BNP Media, is headquartered.

On July 1, the state of Michigan introduced a ban on texting while driving. While I rarely text when my vehicle is moving, I do read emails while stopped at an intersections. Occasionally, I type a short response. And yes, sometimes I push “send” after the car is in motion.

In the eyes of Michigan law, I am guilty.

Starting July 29, my peril will increase dramatically. The city of Troy substantially upped the ante by passing a "distracted driver ordinance". In addition to texting, drivers caught eating, drinking, reading, writing, grooming, operating a phone that is not hands-free, or distracted by passengers are subject to tickets and fines.

Most of my 20-mile daily commute takes place within Troy’s city limits. I am envisioning a new driving routine whereby I enter my car, clamp down on the steering wheel, stare forward, and don’t loosen my grip until my car is safely parked at the next destination.

Big Brother is sucking the final vestiges of fun out of commuting.

Seriously, I don’t mind Michigan’s ban on texting. I’ve already adjusted to holstering my iPhone while driving. I’ll save those emails for after dinner. It’s the right thing to do.

I’m also in favor of a ban on operating hand-held phones. Who hasn’t been stuck behind some joker with a cell phone plastered to his ear driving 30 mph in a 45 mph zone?

But the other driving “offenses” have me baffled. Troy has many drive-through fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. Their patrons will be sitting ducks for eating- and drinking-while-driving tickets.

Frankly, we might be in greater danger if under-caffeinated drivers have to wait until they leave the city limits before imbibing their morning cup of coffee.

Assuming other communities and states pass similar driving ordinances, I foresee new hardships for service, installation, maintenance, and delivery pros. Companies will need to install blue-tooth messaging systems into their vehicles so dispatchers can reach techs in real-time.

Service techs, who already have a bad rap for tardiness, will have even less flexibility to inform customers or their dispatchers they are running late.

And what does a company owner do about repeat offenders?

Owner: Woody, this is the third time you’ve been ticketed for Crispy Cream consumption while driving. I’m sending you to Jenny Craig to kick this addiction.

Woody: Can’t you just install the doughnut breath-a-lizer?

Imagine screening new employees. What do you do if a potential delivery person has racked up several “personal grooming” violations while driving? Do you frisk them for combs and brushes before they get behind the wheel?

Hopefully, civic leaders will resist the temptation to over-regulate our driving habits. In the meantime, don’t even think about answering your ringing cell phone. It could be coming from that car behind you with the blue and red flashing lights.
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distracted driving ordinance

Michael McConnell
July 16, 2010
I haven't read the actual law yet, but in a local TV interview, a Troy police officer referred to activities that made drivers take both hands off the wheel. So drinking coffee, eating and even talking on a cell phone could be OK if one hand is kept on the wheel. I suspect this law will generate more news stories than tickets and revenue.

Distracted driving

Leslie Martinez
July 23, 2010
With the exception of drinking, it is damn good law. I have an 11 mile commute in Southern California, and on most days, I end up having to brake, swerve, and/or give dirty looks to people eating their breakfast on the way to the office, or putting on make up, texting, reading the newspaper or last minute report and put MY life in danger. California was one of th first States with the hands free ban on cell phones, but like most of these laws, they are rarely enforced. I have even seen a couple of my local Sheriffs leaning on the door wih their cell phone while on duty, so if yours are like these don't sweat ittoo much until someone actally gets hurt.

Distracted Driving and Freedom

Steven Rainwater
July 28, 2010
Folks - I know you're trying to be good citizens, but this is madness. Big brother is telling you when you can eat your drive through food today, but tomorrow will also be telling you what you can order. And many will march right up and comply. I know my life is in danger when I drive - I live in Central Florida. Not only do we have regular commuters putting on their make-up on I-4, but we have tourists in rental cars with their nose in a GPS without a clue where they are going or which of six lanes they need to be in AND trying to take photos. They may have just gotten off the plane from the UK and it's their first time driving on the right hand side of the road! Do I want legislation, NO. I am a big boy and I know where I live so I watch out. I have NEVER had an accident (knocking on wood now), but I know when I am behind a rental or a Michigan or Nebraska plate to expect anything. I want to make that decision for myself - not big brother. I'd rather be free than safe. I use a headset on my cell phone when I drive and yes, sometimes text at stoplights. But these are the risks we take if we drive. So I will be needing my coffee in the car, not later... slr

Dui

Buck
August 5, 2010
I wrote my younger brother today for the first time. He will get 5/7 for his repeated DUI. Your whole life can be taken. If not someone elses which would be worse!

DUI

Tim Fausch
August 9, 2010
Buck, Obviously, I tried to inject some humor into this blog, but in the big scheme of things, I agree. Driving under the influence of drugs, alcolhol or anything else majorly distracting is beyond dumb. Yesterday I read about a 16-year-old girl who turned in front of a motorcycle, killing the motorcyclist and severely injurying his wife. In this case the article said alcohol was not a factor. Just shows you how easy it is to make a horrible, life-changing mistake.

DUI

Tim Fausch
August 9, 2010
Buck, Obviously, I tried to inject some humor into this blog, but in the big scheme of things, I agree. Driving under the influence of drugs, alcolhol or anything else majorly distracting is beyond dumb. Yesterday I read about a 16-year-old girl who turned in front of a motorcycle, killing the motorcyclist and severely injurying his wife. In this case the article said alcohol was not a factor. Just shows you how easy it is to make a horrible, life-changing mistake.

New Law

DD
January 4, 2011
It's just another way to harass people for money sakes!! And you wonder why people are moving out of the country.

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