December 17, 2011

FRANK J. FLEMING ON THE NTSB: Hey, They Still Let Us Drive.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants a complete ban on cellphone use while driving, even on hands-free calls. Some will protest this as yet another government encroachment on freedom, but we should think twice before rocking the boat here.

After all, have you considered how lucky we are that the government lets us drive cars at all?

Imagine if cars hadn’t been around for a century, but instead were just invented today. Is there any way they’d be approved for individual use? It’s an era of bans on incandescent bulbs; if you suggested putting millions of internal-combustion engines out there, you’d get looks like you were Hitler proposing the Final Solution.

Even aside from pollution, the government wouldn’t allow the risks to safety. . . . Driving is basically a grandfathered freedom from back when people cared less about pollution and danger and valued progress and liberty over safety. They had different equations related to human life then: We could lose 10,000 men in a single battle in a war and call it a victory.

We’re talking foolhardy people who eventually sent men to the moon strapped to a giant rocket that had less computational power than it takes to calculate the trajectory of an Angry Bird. Their kids dangled from jungle gyms over pavement.

Face it: We’re just not those people anymore. We don’t do dangerous things where lots of people could be hurt . . . even if they’re really cool and fun ideas. You can say we value human life more now, but it’s probably more apt to say we’re much sissier.

Read the whole thing.

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