Do as We Say, Not as We Say

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

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At the same time that the US Department of Transportation is pushing laws to ban in-car cell phone use, it is promoting the “511” government program that encourages drivers to dial 511 for information on traffic conditions instead of tuning in to a traffic reports on AM radio.

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11 Responses to “Do as We Say, Not as We Say”

  1. #1 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    The left hand doesn’t know that there is a right hand.

  2. #2 |  freedomfan | 

    We had this same sort of nonsense in California a year or so ago, during the annual holiday season drinking-and-driving hysteria. There were billboards up urging people to call 911 (or maybe 311?) if they spotted a drunk driver. Of course, this was the same year the highway patrol had initiated a “crackdown” on people using their cell phones while driving. I guess it’s a good way to get two arrests/citations out of one phone call…

  3. #3 |  Bruce H | 

    As usual, a pithy headline does not an article make. The US government is not encouraging citizens to text while driving. From the DOT’s Implementation and Operational Guidelines for 511 Services:

    How can I market 511 for drivers in light of safety concerns about driving while using a cell phone or when my state / city has hands-free legislation? Marketing materials and calls to action should make clear that the implementing agency encourages callers to use 511 only when they can do so safely.

    Furthermore, implementation of this service is left up to the states, with monetary and technical assistance available from the federal government. That’s hardly a big brother approach to governance.

    P.S. — I apologize if the HTML didn’t come through; I can’t preview my comment before submitting.

  4. #4 |  Bad Medicine | 

    So, no problem! Pass a law that makes it illegal for the driver to communicate information to anyone else (except 911, which would be a defense) but not to take in information via cell phone. Then you just need a big LED display on the side of your car that shows whether or not you are talking into the phone or if it is just talking to you, like the 511 traffic line would be. Come to think of it, then you could just force the car to stop dead if you tried to send any communication to any outside party, and wait until a police officer came to ticket you and authorize the car to drive again.

    Now we just have to figure out the difference between talking to a passenger while listening to a traffic report and talking to an outside party on the phone…

    See how government drives innovation and technology? There’s a HUGE market just waiting to pop up and fill this heretofore unknown need!

  5. #5 |  Mr Lizard | 

    Thankfully the Florida house and senate members rely to much on driving and talking to ever outlaw it. Coincidentally the governor revoked all their state funded flying privileges the year before. The end result is that reps from ft Lauderdale do a lot of business on their 10 hour drive from Tallahassee.

  6. #6 |  Brandon | 

    #3, did you actually read this post? The DOT is pushing states to pass laws banning cell phones while at the same time pushing states to implement the 511 programs. Saying “we encourage it only when it’s safe to do so” is meaningless, and pushing legislation onto smaller entities is exactly a Big Brother approach. “Cell phone use” is not the same as “texting,” either.

  7. #7 |  perlhaqr |

  8. #8 |  Pi Guy | 

    I’ve noticed a few of these the last few weeks on I-95 in MD – where it’s illegal to do anything w/ a handheld cell phone!

    I wanted to take a pic just to send here but haven’t had a chance yet and was, in fact, just telling the future Mrs. Pi about it this morning.

  9. #9 |  MattF | 

    a) They’re not encouraging 511 while driving.
    2) Hands free, anyone?
    iii) @#2, 911 calls are legal while driving

  10. #10 |  Xenocles | 

    Don’t worry – after they require everyone to carpool the contradiction will go away.

  11. #11 |  Pablo | 

    I’ll buy that. Makes about as much sense as the govt. subsidizing tobacco farmers while suing tobacco companies and paying for smoking related illnesses. Also subsidizing corn farmers while taxing foods high in HFCS and paying to treat the medical consequences of obesity.