If I Must Have a Nanny, I Prefer Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins

I say, why settle for less than the best. Unfortunately, the Nanny National Safety Council says otherwise. Consumer watch dog groups continue their assault on our personal freedoms and private lives. I’d much rather have Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar than the National Safety Council and their forced feedings of illusory safety.

Jan Lowy of the Associated Press tells us the group is now advocating a total ban on cell phone use while driving, citing evidence that hands-free as well as hand-held phone use increase the risk of being involved in a collision. They acknowledge that it may be “years” before they achieve their goal of a total ban on cell phone use. (Full Article)

Maybe it will be years because it will take that long to convince people that they’re too incompetent to drive while speaking. Next up on the agenda? Banning chewing gum while walking. Your danger of choking is increased!

The organization’s president, Janet Froetscher, says, among other things, that, “It’s not just what you’re doing with your hands — it’s that your head is in the conversation and so your eyes are not on the road.”

I can understand an increased risk of accidents if people are dialing the phone or, God help us, texting while driving, but I fail to see how carrying on a conversation with someone via means of my Bluetooth headset differs appreciably from carrying on a conversation with a front seat passenger. Except that I’m never tempted to turn and look at my conversational counterpart when speaking over the phone. Oh, but wait! That would actually decrease my risk of being involved in an accident.

I may be in the minority on this issue, but I can say with confidence (based on personal experience), that driving while talking on a cell phone is far less distracting than driving with a toddler climbing out of her car seat behind you while she simultaneously chucks toys at the back of your head, but I don’t hear anyone talking about banning children under the age of five from cars.

And I don’t speak from personal experience on these, but I’m guessing it’s also far less distracting than driving while shaving, reading, eating a hamburger or putting on makeup – all of which I’ve seen more than once – but I don’t hear anyone talking about banning any of those things either.

I thought I’d reached a point in my life where I could be trusted to make some decisions on my own. I would like the government to allow me to do so, understanding that safety cannot be guaranteed; other people may make foolish choices and endanger their own lives and the lives myself and my family. That is one of the risks we take when we live in a free society.

I wonder how far we, as a nation, will let the nanny state intrude in the name of safety before we recognize the crushing weight of oppression.

Cross posted at It’s Only Words