Wednesday, May 21, 2008

California's 'Nanny' Legislature

In a previous post, I suggested that every time a new law is enacted, we should unenact another one. The California State Legislature doesn't read all of my posts, apparently. Nine new laws regulating driving are being proposed. My personal not-so-favorite is Senate Bill 1361, introduced by Louis Correa, D-Santa Ana (Orange County!? Who would have thought?!). The Bill would require those convicted of a dui (just one dui) to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. In this unique circumstance, I'm going to side with the Republican, Assemblyman Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) who said, concerning another related Bill, "We're a state that gets around by car. We are a car culture...Couple that with legislators who think government is the answer to everything, and you end up with the perfect storm". Amen. This bill, and others, like the one that prohibits driving with a live animal in your lap (no joke), are an example of the government run amock. Incidentally, driving with dead animals in your lap is going to remain legal; not to worry.

Cars are dangerous objects, weighing mostly between one and two tons, traveling through space at often unreasonably fast speeds; within inches of (and sometimes containing) our children. And there are millions of these objects all around us at all times. People get hurt. People die. It's tragic. However, lets look at the core issue: We shaped a society around cars, and we need, therefore, to confront the basic truth that there are going to be car accidents no matter what. So, what's to be done? You mean besides funding public transportation (i.e., the only change that is going to make a dent in the numbers of accidents)? I'm not sure. But what I am not in favor of is enacting law after law on false promises that doing so will make us any safer. The quote of Benjamin Disraeli, "lies, damned lies, and statistics", came to mind when I read that the CHP reported that 128 accidents in the state last year were caused, in part, by inattention due to an animal in a vehicle. Let's see, how many acts of driving were there last year in the State of California? (33 million (vehicles) times 365 (days in a year) times 4 (excursions per day)) = 48,180,000,000 (aka 50 billion). So, roughly speaking, the chance of being in an accident caused, in part, by inattention due to an animal in a vehicle is one in 376,406,250. But, hey, who said the Legislature isn't working hard to make a real difference in our lives? What will they think of next?

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