Monday, June 01, 2009

Dr. Phil on texting while driving; Oprah offers Randy Cohen, NY Times ethics columnist

Today (Monday, June 1, 2009) Dr. Phil aired “killer texting”, which I believe was a repeat from last fall, show 1152, at this link.

A lot of the show presented a young woman from Dallas who admitted to constantly and compulsively texting on her cell phone while driving, using her thighs to manipulate the steering wheel. “I’m good at multi-tasking” she said, and that was her only rationalization. She thought that laws against cell phone use and texting while driving should apply only to those who aren’t good at it. She was an adult, not a teen. She was shown merging onto I-635, the LBJ Freeway, which runs through “Far North Dallas”.

The program went on to discuss distracted driving laws and cell phone and texting laws. Some speakers took the position that it is very difficult for police to tell when drivers are violating the laws. The District of Columbia has a law against cell phone use while driving without a headset.

Oprah today had a program “How to handle life’s stickiest situations” (link). Oprah offered Randy Cohen, who writes a column on ethics for The New York Times Magazine. Cohen’s positions tend to follow a libertarian kind of individualism (rather like John Stossel) with a strong emphasis on personal responsibility. He has written that employers and schools should use great caution in checking on applicants’ web profiles, and inform applicants of what they are doing (I agree). Today, Oprah presented a situation where a mother wondered how she should react when she found that her middle school son had gotten an inappropriate cell phone text from a girl (the more common situation is the other way around).

Picture: Dallas from White Rock Lake (just S of Northwest Highway). I lived in Dallas, 1979-1988. Attribution link to Creative Commons license is here. The only natural lake in Texas is Caddo Lake, on the Louisiana border.

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