Gladys Kravitz, nosey neighborEnlarge Photo
Tucked away in TCC's stack of incoming press releases, we just noticed this humdinger of a headline: "How's My Driving? For Everyone: Simple Bumper Sticker Can Save $57 Billion and Over 14,000 Lives Nationwide". Those are the sort of eye-popping stats that always get our attention. They're also the sort of numbers you often see on shady infomercials.
Sifting through the release, we learned that Alvin Butler and his company, TTI, Inc., are the folks behind this nationwide "How's My Driving?" plan. Unfortunately, that's about all we learned. We couldn't even figure out what TTI stood for until we scrolled to the bottom: apparently, it's shorthand for TextThemIn.com. Eager beavers that we are, we dumped the URL into our browser and found the site, along with this bit of copy:
Each year 6.8 million car crashes cost approximately $164 billion in damages and 43,000 lives in the United States.
How's My Driving? for Everyone has a program that can cut the costs of accidents and save thousands of lives annually!
Drivers who know they can be reported drive safer and are more responsible. How’s My Driving? programs change the attitude of drivers by removing their anonymity . Studies show that crashes can be reduced as much as 53% when the How’s My Driving? program is implemented.
You can be the additional eyes on the road helping to monitor aggressive and unsafe driving by reporting such incidents as speeding, aggressive driving, unsafe lane changes, tailgating, etc.
And yes, you guessed it: the program involves tattle-tales like you and me texting info about reckless drivers to TTI.com. So either April Fool's has come early to TCC, or someone in America has gone off the deep end.
Here are a couple of problems with your Big Brother fantasy, Mr. Butler:
- Text messaging while driving is entirely unsafe. And if your goal is to prove safety on the roadways...well, you can see the irony, can't you? No really: can't you? (Note: Yes, we saw the disclaimer on your website's front page. It's laughable.)
- Text messaging while driving is also illegal in many states. So you're encouraging people to break the law for real in order to report people who may or may not be breaking the law for real? That's totally smart. In a different universe.
- There are times when we enjoy being watched. Driving is not usually one of them. Driving is our special time to sing, belch, fart, pick our noses, and do those other things that people shouldn't see. Keep your eyes on the road.
- Your program flies in the face of Playground Rule #1: nobody likes a snitch.
We could go on and on, but we'll restrain ourselves. After all, it's still early in the day.