Amazing, but true. I suppose he'd get rid of the law requiring people to buckle their seat belts, if he could. What's the difference? Both laws are intended to save lives. Both "micromanage" the behavior of adults.
By vetoing the bill, he sends the message that texting while driving is OK, even though he claims to believe the opposite. Either he doesn't care whether people die from inattention while driving due to texting, or he does care but is ignorant of why texting while driving is a danger. I just can't believe he's that callous. My theory is he's just ignorant.
I imagined a scenario where he's out hunting with his rocker and gun rights activist friend, Ted Nugent, on Nugent's ranch.
Perry: "Yup. It's on my desk."
Nugent: "Well, g.....n, Rick. What's the deal? What liberal m..........r came up with this stupid idea?"
Perry: "The legislature is mostly Republican, Ted."
Nugent: "I don't give a s..t, Rick. Nobody's gonna keep me from texting in my car. I have a right to do anything I want in my car. What's the state of Texas coming to? What are you going to do about it, Rick?"
Perry: "I'm going to veto it, that's what."
Nugent: "Well all right, then."
Of course this conversation or anything like it never happened, at least not to my knowledge.
But here's what Perry doesn't know about why texting while driving is so dangerous. It has to with some well-known facts about how the brain handles information. It's this:
The human brain can focus conscious awareness on only one thing at a time.
That's right. It's impossible to pay attention to two things simultaneously. Some people claim to be able to do it, but they're mistaken. The classic example is a pianist playing a song while carrying on a conversation with a listener. It looks like he's paying attention to both the song and the conversation simultaneously. But he's not. He's memorized the piece, he's played it countless times before, and he's playing now it automatically without thinking about it. His brain is working outside of conscious attention to play the song. This enables the pianist to talk back and forth with the listener. He might occasionally shift his attention to the piano, but during those brief seconds he doesn't hear everything the speaker says.
Unconsciously, your brain can do lots of things simultaneously. But consciously, it can pay attention to only one thing at a time.
This physical, biological limitation is a scientifically proven fact. It no doubt exists to enable problem solving. If we could be aware of everything at once, our consciousness would be flooded with so much input that our brains couldn't sort through it in time to deal with it. But the requirement to focus consciously on one thing enables us to quickly figure out how to deal with it. It's actually a survival mechanism.
So when a driver is concentrating on keying in the right letters of a text message, guess what he has no awareness of. That's right. He won't notice changes in the traffic around him, like a turn in the road, a sign posting reduced speed, a pedestrian trying to cross, or a car braking.
The same is true of voice conversations on a cell phone, even the "hands-free" type. When you're truly paying attention to what's being said, you lose awareness of everything else. The best you can do is switch your awareness back and forth, which makes for inept conversation and dangerous driving.
Drunk drivers have impaired awareness of the road. Texters - while they're typing in text - have no awareness of the road at all. Now one technique might be to type in one letter, then quickly look back at the road. Then look away to type in another letter, etc. That way, your awareness of the road ahead would go blank for only two or three seconds at a time. This best-case scenario causes more impaired perception than drunk driving. You could look up and realize that you should have been braking and it would be too late. It's an unsettling thought.
In all fairness, Rick Perry is not the only person ignorant of the real reason texting while driving is dangerous. I've explained this to many people and not one of them was aware if it. They thanked me, but I don't know how many of them stopped texting while driving. You know how people have a way of shoving reality out of their minds...
That's why it needs to be against the law. And oh yeah, while they're at it, don't just make it illegal. Why not tell the public the real reason it's so dangerous? People do it because they're ignorant.
Like our governor.
Casting about looking for people with their feet on the ground and eyes open to the real world, I found this cute song.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .