Is texting making us dumb? No Texting while Driving act passes Senate in one smart move

Texting has swept the world as the coolest form of communication. Or has it? We are still trying to figure out what’s so cool about communicating like this:

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski


For those of us who have yet to secure a master’s degree in Internet lingo, this translates to: “Dude, believe it or not, I am sending a text message in traffic. That’s life in the big city. Think I give a s—?”

Perhaps not surprisingly, much of the lingo, as found on, contains swear words, crude sayings and phrases that involve copulation.

The 82 million folks who reportedly text regularly may not always be using their brains when it comes to when and where they text, either.

Texting while driving is about as smart as putting a plastic bag over your head and trying to breathe.

But it’s still legal in Arizona – for now.

The No Texting While Driving Act (SB 1334) passed with a unanimous 5 to 0 vote in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt, according to a news release from AAA Arizona.

“Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws that address text messaging by all drivers,” the release adds. “Late last year, AAA announced that the Association will work to pass laws banning text messaging by drivers in all 50 states by 2013.”

While this is a major move forward, there is no guaranteeing Tucson drivers will heed the rule even if it’s made into Arizona law.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Driving under the influence is already illegal, but Tucson police stats say 843 motorists have been busted for it in the first six weeks of 2010. That’s roughly 20 per day.

Texting in the jury box has also caused some mayhem. Although jurors are specifically told they cannot talk about the trail while its ongoing, some have possibly assumed the rule either does not apply to them – or does not apply to texting, tweeting or e-mailing updates to folks on their address list.

A Pima County judge kicked one juror off the jury for texting during a trial, according to the State Bar of Arizona. Pennsylvania lawyers were going for a mistrial in one case involving a former state senator after a juror was caught posting up-to-the-minute trial updates on Twitter and Facebook.

At least the juror wasn’t texting.

While smashing your car into a lamppost and marring a trial are major dangers of texting, there are also some small annoyances.

Like using the phone keypad as a typewriter. Yes, we know any savvy 10-year-old can probably do it with his eyes closed. It’s still annoying to have to press a button three times just to get to the letter C. We’d hope perhaps the lingo would help make the typing a bit easier, but even the lingo contains plenty of letter C’s.

Texting is also irksome when folks do it in inappropriate social situations. There’s no better way to make our date – or any other company we’re in – feel like they are not worth our time if we ignore them to check and respond to our text messages.

While we are offending our in-person company, we must be careful not to offend our text message recipient if we send them an inappropriate message.

TOBAL (There oughta be a law).


WDYT – What do you think?

Is texting the best form of communication or is it eroding our society?

Do you text in inappropriate places? Do you text at all?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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30 Responses to Is texting making us dumb? No Texting while Driving act passes Senate in one smart move

  1. tiponeill says:

    I have personally had much more of a problem with people talking on their cellphones than texting. Both are dangerous and annoying. I don’t see why just one version of cell phone distraction should be singled out.

    • Rynski says:

      hi tip,
      yes, cell phones are ALL OVER! and definitely a pain in the butt when it comes to being around drivers using them. there’s not a drive that goes by that i’m not stuck behind, next to or cut off by a cell phoner.
      maybe a blanket cell phone bill would have been tough to pass?

      • tiponeill says:

        Tougher to pass but easier to enforce – how are they going to enforce this ? The only thing it is useful for is to add additional charges after an accident if it is found that a driver was texting at the time of the accident – which accomplishes zero.
        I am waiting for a technical – not a legal – solution. With newer GSM enabled phones, for instance, it is possible to turn the phone off while driving automatically.

      • Rynski says:

        good points. don’t know how it would be enforced.
        a quick search found that other states are already facing that problem:
        Maryland just passed a texting ban, but state officials are flummoxed over how to enforce it. The law bans texting while driving but allows for reading texts, for precisely the reasons just mentioned.

        But how can a police officer positioned at the side of a highway tell if the driver of the car that just flew by was actually pushing buttons on his cellphone and not merely reading the display screen?

        Unless a motorist is blatantly typing away at eye level, a car would need to be moving slowly enough for an officer to see inside, focus on the phone, and observe the driver manipulating the buttons. Which is to say the car would probably need to be stopped—at which point it ceases to be a safety hazard. Source.

      • radmax says:

        I like Tip’s take on it; some form of auto-disable while driving would be the answer…plus my office would have to pick up the zillion calls I get while driving for work. 😉

      • Rynski says:

        that’s why no bill would get passed, even though it’s a great idea. you think all the senator’s and rep’s assistants want to take all their calls when they’re on the road?

      • radmax says:

        Perhaps that is why it will pass. I can see politicians passing on incoming queries, as easily as they pass the buck… 😉

      • homers says:

        I’ll be hoping that when the local paper reports on the floor vote on this law they’ll also tell us which senators got how much money from the cellphone industry.

  2. Jennatoolz says:

    Hey Ryn!! As you may remember, I’m a HUGE text fiend and have been since I got my thumbs on my very own cell phone in 2002. These days, when looking for a new phone, I require it to have a QWERTY keypad, haha. I’m done with the pressing-a-key-3-times-to-get-to-C bit. As far as texting while driving, I’m that girl thats not paying attention when the light turns green. I don’t text while my car is in motion. 😛

    • Rynski says:

      hiya jenna,
      yes, i remember you mentioning your texting fiend-dom – hahaha. but i also remember you said, and you mentioned again, you only do it at red lights…so that’s a start!
      i didn’t know there were special keypads for texting – i’m way out of the loop. that takes away one of the annoyances at least. have you memorized the net lingo yet?
      oh, i’m so old fashioned. just send me an e-mail any day – but i stay away from the texting.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        I have a phone much like the one Radmax described in his post — up to and including the Facebook and Myspace apps, and I absolutely love it! I have memorized some lingo, but not all…my most commonly used ones would be “WTF”,  “OMG”…and of course, “LOL”.

      • Rynski says:

        glad you found a phone that works for ya. i’m happiest when i have a cell phone that doesn’t ring – haha.
        WTF is a propos in so many situations – as are the other two you mentioned. some of those on the list, however, seemed somewhat obscure. well, except, of course: AAAAA, or American Association Against Acronym Abuse – haha.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        It might be sad, but I find myself saying “W-T-F” instead of the actual words “what the fudge” at times. Oh em gee! 😉

      • radmax says:

        Hi Jenna, the one I had was an ‘incognito’, perfect description of the dang thing for my work purposes. 🙂 They are pretty cool, just not for my everyday needs. My daughter is much like you in the texting dept, couldn’t pry her away from it! Now it looks like I’ll have to get her one for her birthday in April.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Incognito looks like a pretty sweet phone…I used to have one similar to that, before I got myself a Blackberry. People call them “Crackberry” because you can never get enough of it, hahah.

  3. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Been waitin’ for this topic… 😉 I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…why on earth would someone use a perfectly good phone as a typewriter? Hell, I have trouble finding that little green phone icon on some phones, just to answer the damn thing. This happened at work when we changed service providers. My boss, bless her heart, got a keyboard style illuminated face work phone for me which is impossible to see out of doors. Nice, stylish piece of…modern ingenuity. 🙂 Somewhat impractical when I’m in the field, let alone driving down the freeway…but it has a direct link to facebook and myspace!…? Yup, I complained and got a new more practical flip phone, thank goodness. I hope the proposed bill passes, though enforcement might be impossible.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax,
      glad i could sate your need for the texting topic – hahahhaa. glad you got a more practical phone that fits your needs – rather than comes equipped with all kinds of doodads that are wholly useless to you.
      i agree about enforcement being tough – or even such a law heeded. a cell phone law went in effect 100 years ago in NYC – only headsets are allowed for talking – yet i still saw them all over the place. sigh. at least it’s a step in the right direction.

    • Jennatoolz says:

      Radmax, I love my phone/typewriter, hahaha. It’s actually more like a tiny computer. In fact, I’m replying to your comment using my phone, rather than the computer sitting in front of me!!

      KIDDING! (although it can be done!) 😛

  4. azmouse says:

    I never text while driving but I text as much as possible because I really don’t like talking on the phone and it seems easier to get off the phone faster. I know people that could ramble on the phone for hours.

    I have a slider type phone, so it also has a cute little keypad. Most of the time I am reading and responding on these blogs with my cellphone.

    • Rynski says:

      blog responding is a good thing on a cell phone – keep it up! haha.
      as long as you don’t do it while driving, as you said you don’t, we’re good. and please don’t use any acronyms that are way too obscure or at least i won’t know what the heck you’re saying!
      also agree talking on the phone can be big nuisance – esp. with the chatty cathys. they can talk for hours with nothing to say….

      • azmouse says:

        No worries…I don’t abreviate anything…except ‘LOL’.

        On people can sign up and pledge to never use their phone while driving. It’s Oprah’s latest pet peeve. She made all her staff sign her oath, and with Oprah onboard, it tends to get allot of attention.

      • Rynski says:

        LOL – is A-OK IMHO – hahaha.
        good for oprah. i like that move. although i once read a book recommended by her book club and it really stank.

      • radmax says:

        “Oprah, In My Own Words”? 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        hahahah – no, although i very  much enjoyed ‘manson in his own words.’

        think the oprah recommended book was something ‘the pilot’s wife.’

      • azmouse says:

        Well, I’ve never read an Oprah recomended book, but the writers pretty much become millionaires once she gives them her midas touch.

        I try to stick with true crime books, then I’m always happy! 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        me too – true crime all the way!

  5. leftfield says:

    Turn on, Tune in and Drop out.  Still good advice.  They are eating you up from the outside in and the inside out. 

    • Rynski says:

      wholly agree, lefty!
      i am also going to use that line – not the leary quote but yours – next time i get chided for not answering my cell phone:
      “it is eating me up from the outside in and the inside out” – tooooo true.

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