Thinking back to my younger days, I remember knowing individuals who would appear to be intelligent but when it came to common sense, he/she had no clue what to do in predictable situations.  Flash forward to today’s society, there are those who still are sorely lacking common sense in certain situations but it seems to be getting worse! 

When an individual lacks the common sense to avoid doing something that ultimately affects only him/her, it is a shame but not earth-shattering.  My issue is when this same person does something that common sense would say to do the opposite and another person(s) gets hurt as well; now, everyone else is affected by a decision that logically should not have happened.  While there may be other influences at play, I am starting to think that one culprit in this deepening problem involves the tech we use daily.

Considering I am a tech lover and user, there is a part of me who is screaming at myself for making such a blasphemy statement!  However, those who know me would acknowledge that I try to look at both sides of an issue, so it would be hypocritical of me if I did not recognize the role tech has in this issue. 

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Those who would question my reasoning on this, I would point how that the lack of having and/or following our common sense has gotten so bad that society needs the government and law enforcement to create laws as a substitute!  Today’s discussion will look at how using tech daily is continuing to erode our common sense and that laws need to be made to compensate for the loss.

Must we Need a Law to Deter Texting While Driving?

Anyone who has applied for a driver’s license over the decades has been told that when you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, do not do anything that would distract you while driving.  Although this concept has been passed down from generation to generation of drivers, the one thing that has changed that plays a factor into this is advancements in tech. 

Even though there has been a law for a long time involving distracted drivers, it has only been a few years that government and law enforcement banded together to create a law that zeroes in on texting while driving; towards the middle and end of 2015, government had made texting while driving illegal and went into law in November of that year. 

Different states have their own fines for breaking this law; however, an example of a fine considered in one state would be a fine of $20 to $400 and up to four points on the offender’s driving record for a first offense.

Besides the fine(s) an individual could incur when texting while driving, many fail to realize that being distracted can cause an accident to happen and result in people getting seriously hurt as well as possibly dying. 

Now, common sense will always recognize that if an action can cause harm to oneself or another person, the logical decision is to not do it.  Yet, focusing on answering a text message or phone call while driving a vehicle is more important; really?!?!  Many driving accidents that occur would have easily been avoided if the driver had not abandoned their common sense over using a piece of technology. 

Knowing how many accidents still happen despite have no texting while driving laws, can you imagine how many more there would be if the law did not exist?

No Texting While Crossing the Street is Now a Law; Seriously!?!?

Here is another example of common sense being completely thrown out the window and our government feeling the need to protect people from themselves.  Practically everyone has been taught or learned that when crossing the street, one should look both ways to make sure it is safe and then proceed to walk to the other side; in situations where a traffic signal is present, a pedestrian should also make sure the signal turns green before attempting to cross. 

Apparently, there are people who ignore or no longer have the common sense that it is best to avoid being distracted when crossing the street, such as reading or sending a text message and reading or sending an email.  Yet, there have been numerous accidents and fatalities due to pedestrians not paying attention when crossing the street or an intersection.  The result of these instances has made one city say that enough is enough and lawmakers decided to do something about it.

Honolulu has passed a law recently that makes it illegal for pedestrians to cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.  This new law includes ubiquitous smartphones, video games as well as laptops and pagers.  Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed the bill saying it is needed as many people, especially seniors, are struck by automobiles in crosswalks. 

He added that sometimes I wish there were laws we did not have to pass, that perhaps common sense would prevail.  But sometimes we lack common sense.  Police officers will have to notice someone committing this infraction and it is noted that an individual can legally look on their phone if on the sidewalk or can cross the street while talking on the phone (this makes no sense to me). 

Fines have been documented as being $15 to $35 for the original offense, the second offense will cost $35 to $75 and a third offense will cost $75 to $99.

Walking and Texting: In Closing…

There are many things in life that we take for granted, abandoning our common sense is one of them.  Before the smartphone came into existence, distracted pedestrians were an issue but not at the severity that it has become today.  There are plenty of other examples that I can give you; however, the two that I have brought out in our conversation shows that our common sense in various situations has eroded in part due to the technology that we use daily. 

The result of this has law makers and enforcement needing to create laws that are replacing what our common sense should be saying to avoid doing.  The concerns of Honolulu come from the Governors Highway Safety Association that reported an increase in pedestrian fatalities from the first half of 2015 to the same period of 2016 by 11%.  One of the possible reasons for this happening was distraction due to growing use of smartphone technology.  What do you think?

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