Lately, usually late at night with the headset on so I won’t disturb anyone, I’ve been literally deluged by a “silly” commercial that is supposed to make a point.
I will give the cellphone provider who developed and shot the commercial some credit for trying to look like they care. However, if you look and look again – I’ve seen in 40 or 50 times – it always opens with woman driver who is slugging down a SlurpyÓ or a soda of some sort, while munching on things that appear to be fries, all the while yakking on a smartphone and taking texts, at the same time.
Meantime, our truly distracted driver looks out of the corner of her eye and sees and old-guy tortoise, who just wants to tortoise dodder (could old Torty have been using a tiny walker, who can tell, he has the shell) from one side of the busy Interstate to the other to chase fish in a new area.
At the same time, our texting, yakking, smartphone-using driver looks up and just says “Oh-oh!” and the director does a jump cut to the lake the Interstate borders as it shows the texter turning her minivan into either a houseboat or a small patrol boat to voluntarily assist local authorities in the fight against terrorism?
Wouldn’t it have been nice if the latter outcome were the real outcome? However, that wasn’t the case. The driver was just exhibiting the types of behavior I see every day as I drive around the streets in and around Boston.
I usually use my stealth mode car when I’m just driving around doing odds and ends as any testing cars – when they are available stand out like Christmas trees to the cars of choice for our friendly, neighborhood chop shop or export gang. They are only too happy to relieve one of the test vehicles, leaving the driver with the paperwork from the police, manufacturer and manufacturer’s insurance rep, so it’s easier to use the stealth car in Boston.
What I do notice as I drive around the roads in and around Boston is that drivers continually press the boundaries of the anti-texting laws, apparently feeling two things:
- Nothing will every happen to them as they driving and thumb their emails of importance (well they think they’re important. At the bottom, unless you are the texter, you see that their important text could have waited until they reached their desktop or laptop. So, feeling they have the right and ability to text wherever they feel like it, these rolling idiots (they say the Lord protects them, but we’ll see. So far the record is really not in their favor) will text away at 85 in the far left lane. You can see the furtive looks as they look for the blue and gray Mass. State Police cars as this is a mandatory $100 fine offense, but not a rolling offense (the difference is a rolling offense affects your insurance with a six-year surcharge, while the noon-rolling charge is effectively low-level misdemeanor 3 which just carries a fine.). And, when you sit next to them in traffic, you see that smartphone or tablet out as the owner tries to prove his is more important than the morning traffic fly-guy.
- Our “entitled” driver, whose impairment while texting or talking is the same as if the driver had had a couple of shots tequila before hitting the road for the night then proceeds to text or yak with the phone to his or her ear, possibly eating some saved sushi or lomain. He or she will be the driver who tells police, after running down two mothers and five babies trying to cross at a marked crosswalk: “They ran into traffic and there wasn’t anything I could do. I’m awfully sorry to their families but I can’t be responsible if they want to run out into traffic.” Looking closely at the reconstruction, most teams will find out that it takes considerable effort to push two children, while carrying or herding three other toddlers across the street so that “darting” excuse plainly holds no water.
In the final scene (this is an N-Star commercial after all and we have to end the first nasty ad on a positive note, so the habitual texter finally tells her cell/text partners “wait a minute” as we suppose she puts everything down and misses Mr. Torty. One presumes that she is little chastened, though, and she immediately begins her own meeting again.
How true is the first part of the N-Star commercial? While this is an admittedly unscientific survey, it looks like one-in-two or one-in-tree an MA driver does what comes naturally and talks. One supposes they are talking about some earth-shattering crisis but it is more likely Mom and Dad are figuring out dinner or Dad is talking to his “friend” about their evening.
Whatever the event, this is still too high a figure and it must come down. If not, there will be more “I don’t know how that happened officers” spun to police across the state and who knows, some may even be true.