Monday, June 23, 2008

Change the channel on this idea

We continue to get calls about the enforcement effort by Arizona against truckers who use laptop computers in the cabs.

Once again, at this point, the state has declared a moratorium on enforcement, pending a ruling from the FMCSA and CVSA.

A lot of truckers are still hopping mad about this. But some are not so sure.

I have heard from some truckers who talk about folks texting behind the wheel, diverting their attention from the road for long periods while moving, looking at videos on Web sites … the kinds of behavior that I think we’d all agree are best avoided.

But if you glance occasionally at the screen, just as you would glance at any other gauge or meter or device on your dash, and if you only glance, and don’t stare at it – in effect, if you use some common sense – it should be no problem.

We can’t legislate common sense. I wish we could.

But those who act responsibly with their laptops will continue to do so, while those who act irresponsibly about this will either continue to do so in spite of the threat of tickets, or they’ll act irresponsibly in some other way.

Cutting off a useful function for truckers who do act responsibly won’t fix this.

And incorrectly enforcing a regulation meant for televisions on some other unrelated device won’t fix it either.