Missouri’s Loosey Goosey Texting While Driving Laws

13 11 2017

Jefferson City

I noticed in Norm’s posts here, and also the comments written below them, during my involuntary sojourn and unwanted vacation, that there has been some discussion about the curious feature of Missouri law that is relevant to the reason for my sojourn, that texting/cell phone usage while driving, is only a crime for those under the age of 21, which is why my “assailant” (age 30) cannot possibly be charged with any crime. What I did not read is that any of you discussing it actually know why it is that way, why it’s not a crime for everyone, only for under 21s.

I happen to know the reason, and owning to one of my professional pursuits of the recent past, I know the reason straight from the horse’s mouths. From some of the the state legislators who voted for the law to be that way and some of the staffers who drafted it that way.

Virtually all of Missouri’s state level elected politicians and their staffers and lobbyists are at least 21 years old. And they have the habit of wanting to be in constant communication with other people. Politicians and political types being what they are.

The under-21 thing is a way for the politicians and political types to pretend for outward consumption that they’re doing something about texting while driving, while creating a big carve-out for themselves. Remember, 18-20 year olds are a political non-entity, so there are no political consequences or blowback for picking on them.  For my money, it’s political bullying, pawning off all the blame for a thing on people who legally and technically can be held responsible for doing it, but don’t have the ability to organize serious political resistance to the political fraudulence and double standard of the paradigm.

The political winds which will probably blow all that away and eventually result in this prohibition being age all-encompassing: The insurance industry. Remember, the insurance industry is in pretty tight with the Republican Party, and guess which party owns Missouri state politics at present. Insurance is going to get tired of cutting big payouts to the victims of texting while driving, such as the one I know I’ll soon get, and they’ll crack the whip.

Beyond that, I think the even more fundamental disease that society needs to address is what underlies texting while driving or phone usage while driving, that is, the desire that people have to be constantly connected with everyone and every thing else, and the desire that people have to be in constant communication with everyone else, and the desire that people have for every person including themselves to be pervasively and constantly and universally available to everyone else.




6 responses

13 11 2017
14 11 2017

I should remember him inherently, because I had to have interacted with him a lot during my lobbying days. But I don’t, yet. It’s just the nature of the intermittent memory restoration.

So I’m left with my powers of inference and implication.

Unlike your typical sort of Missouri state legislative elected officigal, Higdon is two things:

1. Older. You read he was a SO’s Deputy for 30 years before getting into politics, which means he has to be up in age, in relative terms. Being mindful of the fact that state legislature members tend to be younger than Federal ones. As it is, the internet search engine (not Goolag) has him at 63 years old. Which means he lived most of his life before the average person got the ability to carry a computer around in their pocket to hypnotize them instead of driving.

2. An ex-cop. Which means he had many occasions to scrape up the consequences of people doing stupid shit behind the wheel from the pavement, even before the sail foam era.

Mash the two together, and it’s easy to see why, just based on moral reasons, he wants the law in the state to be what it should be.

But I should warn you:

If and when this happens, it WILL NOT happen because the Missouri General Assembly is yielding to deferential magnanimity of an old cop among them. To put it another way, they’re going to do the right thing, but not for the right thing’s sake. They’ll be doing it because the insurance lobby will be cracking the whip. To put it another way, it will happen because certain people like the sort I used to be will read the Riot Act to the sort of people who got more votes than anyone else in elections over slices of pizza at a certain pizza joint across the street from SCOMO.

15 11 2017
Pinned Post (Newer Content Follows Below) | Countenance Blog

[…] Missouri’s Loosey Goosey Texting While Driving Laws — About why my assailant will never face criminal charges, and why the law will eventually be changed […]

15 11 2017

Regarding the social aspect: the cause is atomization and social isolation (note the paradox), driven by SCALE . . . these electronic social connections are instantly ephemeral, unlike real social connections, thereby driving a need for more little hits of social approval.

15 12 2017
They’ve Aged a Year Since Then | Countenance Blog

[…] Reading between the lines in this article, though, I think they’ve already thought of this, and this bit about “still allowing for adult certification for (insert serious crimes here)” is how state legislators carefully split the goal posts between their 17-year old shoplifting daughters at the mall and 17-year old black gang banger murderers.  In other words, that’s how they create the carve out for themselves.  Of course, that august body is really good at creating carve outs for themselves that often don’t turn out so well in the real world. […]

29 01 2018
The Wherefores and Whys | Countenance Blog

[…] I’m of course very very very interested in (3) for very personal reasons, and you already know why it is the way it is. […]

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