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Jim Walker: Driving away the joys of the road

Don't take me seriously

Posted: January 6, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: January 6, 2012 1:30 a.m.

The other day, a friend of mine was doing a little ranting regarding possible changes in cellphone laws in California.

Particularly, she was incensed about the prospect that “the law dogs” might soon ban the use of hands-free devices while driving in our fair state — with the resulting discrimination against those of us who, you know, like to sing along with the radio while we drive.

I mean, think about it.

How could a CHP officer observing you know whether you were singing along with your favorite song on the radio — or using your cellphone, via a hands-free device, to change an appointment with your dog’s psychologist?

So the officer pulls you over and says, “You were on the phone, here’s your ticket.”

And you say, “No ,I wasn’t. I was singing to the radio,” and then you proceed to belt out a few lyrics to make your case: “Bis-mi-lah! No, we will not let you go … Let him go!”

The officer, of course, considers this an assault on his person, by a crazy person — and so on, and so on  — until you are doing hard time.

It’s discrimination, my friends  — against all of us who make our days a little more tolerable through song on the highway.

Oh, but the cramping of our styles will not end there, mes amis. I recently read that the California Highway Patrol plans an aggressive education campaign to discourage all sorts of distracted driving.

And that would include such national pastimes as putting on your makeup while driving, eating a chili dog at the wheel or driving one-handed while your other hand tries to land a punch on your teenager in the back seat.

They’ll also want you to voluntarily stop tuning your radio while driving, changing CDs, drinking coffee or even booger hunting, for crimeny sakes.

I mean, sheesh, where will the assaults on our inalienable rights end?

And “voluntary” changes have a sneaky way of becoming the socially accepted norm, and then, eventually, they become laws. Really important laws.

I mean, in California, it is already illegal to shoot any kind of game from a moving vehicle — unless it is a whale. Huh? And women are not allowed to drive in a house coat (which may be more about decorum than safety, but whatever).

However, the good news is that those who suggest these anti-distracted-driving restrictions will make exceptions for the use of phones and other devices in emergency situations.

You know, so you can dial 911 while you are in the middle of a 360-degree spin on black ice.

I can only imagine where this is all heading. I mean, picture a morning, maybe five years from now. You walk up to your electric car and blink at the eye-scanning pad to be allowed entry. You ease into the driver’s seat but, before you can start the car, you must offer a blood sample so that the onboard computer (directly connected to CHP and DMV HQs) can analyze your blood chemistry, as well as your potential for road rage.

You then ease your hands into place at 10 and 2 on the wheel — and they are locked-in for the duration of the trip.

And while your head is allowed to move so that you can scan your surroundings, the camera watching your eyes will trigger the sound system to offer such comments as: “Don’t look at her, keep your eyes on the road!” — accompanied by a nasty electric shock to your tush.

Of course, another five or so years after that, the computers in our autos will be doing all the driving for us.

This will be a great relief because a), we know how infallible automobile technology is, and b) we’ll finally be allowed to go back to all our bad habits and creature comforts.

Well, as long as they are all socially and politically correct, as determined by the “cloud” servers that will be keeping watch on us all, and as long as we remain securely fastened in place by our chest, waist, head, arm and leg shackles.

So don’t even think you’ll, once again, be able to reach out and “educate” your lippy adolescent.

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