To This New Yorker, NYC Drivers Seem Almost Homicidal
Inspired by Michael Levin’s recent piece in the Daily News. Please read the original to fully appreciate this reverse edit.
Maybe it’s the hot summers.
Are New York drivers out to kill?
Is it just me, or does it seem that drivers no longer have regard for red lights?
It’s one thing to speed through a yellow as it is turning red. I mean that’s common driver behavior nowadays.
I’m talking about ignoring basic traffic law altogether, often with one’s head down, texting on a cellphone, even though the light you just sailed through has been red a few seconds.
Have these individuals forgotten that in New York, driving is a privilege?
And that driving a car recklessly without due care from point A to point B is the fastest way to kill someone?
When cellphones first came out, experts warned that using them while driving was akin to driving while inebriated.
Hey, I thought. This sucks for pedestrians!
Turns out that driving even while talking hands-free is dangerous because when so doing so, drivers lose the ability to pay attention to the road.
And we see evidence of that all over New York City.
Drivers are so engrossed in whatever ephemera has caught their attention on their devices that their ability to drive is totally shot, and with it, their basic human decency.
In other cities, the rules are different. In Copenhagen, no one would dream of driving while using a cell phone. It’s a public embarrassment, and it’s a high dollar fine.
They do this because they have a civil society that encourages all modes of transportation. Children can bike to school at a young age because drivers pay strict attention to the road, and they know what it is like to walk.
But back to the Big Apple.
The problem with texting while driving is that you might alter the life of a pedestrian because you are not paying proper attention.
Last time I checked, people operating multi-ton machines always run the risk of ending other people’s lives if they’re not careful.
I find it astonishing that day after day, city streets aren’t littered with fresh corpses thanks to the drivers staring at the latest notification on their phones. The only thing their screens should say is, “Put me down and pay attention asshole!”
Maybe we need to have a law where drivers’ phones become unusable while a car is in motion.
And finally, to drivers in New York, a message.
You need to slow down and cede the right of way when you see jaywalkers.
In a dense, chaotic city it is the morally right thing to do.