Why Do Automakers Enable Idiotic Texting While Driving?

New texting while driving features put everyone on the roads at risk

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Technology, again, is at war with law enforcement and just basic common sense. Hence, we have automakers fashioning cars so that drivers can have their text messages spoken to them. The idea is to circumvent laws that rightly ban texting while driving. The laws themselves are almost laughable, since the practice is so objectively dangerous and stupid, one wonders why anyone has to be told not to do it. It's right up there with those signs at the U.S. Post Office warning people that they are not allowed to mail bleach. Who mails bleach? If you're even thinking about mailing bleach, you have bigger problems than the U.S. Post Office is medically qualified to solve.

[Read Robert Schlesinger: "Texting While Driving? You're Six Times More Likely to Crash.]

But really, texting while driving? Is there anything so important that drivers have to put human safety—of those on the street, as well as the person behind the wheel—behind instant, constant communication?

Enter the new technology, which allows drivers to hear a computer "speak text messages to them. As the

Washington Post reports

, the feature could help drivers get around laws in 34 states that prohibit texting while driving, a practice the

Post

says 95 percent of Americans think is dangerous. This raises immediate questions, such as, what is wrong with the rest of the states that

don't

ban such idiotic behavior, and who are the 5 percent of the population who believe the practice is not dangerous? (And do they have driver's licenses?) The secondary question is, have we become so attached to communication toys that we can't put them down, even to drive?

[See the month's best political cartoons.]

The technology will allow drivers to tap a screen that sends an automatic message, such as "I'm on my way, or "I'm running a few minutes late. Keep that one up, and one of the messages will have to be, "I'm sorry, I've just run into a school bus and killed a bunch of first-graders, and I have to go to the police station/hospital, so I won't be able to meet up with you to shop for more electronic gadgets.

Or maybe the talking car could limit its vocabulary to a favorite bumper sticker: "Shut up and drive.

  • See a slide show of the 10 best states for teen driving.
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